On April 12, 2018, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, two Black men, were waiting in a Philadelphia Starbucks for another man to join them for a business meeting. As was widely reported, they were asked to leave after not buying anything and ultimately were arrested for trespassing after refusing to leave. (The manager who called 911 is no longer with Starbucks.)
As soon as I learned about this incident, I wanted to talk to a police officer in Philadelphia about what happened, how officers are trained to handle such incidents, and issues of policing and race more generally. G. Lamar Stewart, a Philadelphia police officer and, importantly, Vice-President of the National Black Police Association: Greater Philadelphia Chapter, agreed to this interview.
We discussed the Starbucks arrest and a range of other issues, including his work as a minister.
"Starbucks, police and mayor Respond to controversial arrest of 2 Black men in Philly" (NPR)
"Philly cops issue new trespassing policy in response to criticism over Starbucks arrest" (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Memo describing the new trespassing policy
Facebook page for the National Black Police Association Inc.: The Greater Philadelphia Chapter
"Taylor Memorial Baptist: Growing into a complete community church" (Philadelphia Tribune)
Cover art credit: Skyfox11 (from Wikimedia Commons, public domain images)