Happy Tuesday, Philadelphia. If you don't already have coffee on the brain this morning, you will soon. Protests continued yesterday at Starbucks locations in Center City following the arrests of two African American men at one of the company's cafes last week. Starbucks' CEO stopped by on an apology tour, residents held a sit-in at the store in question, and the manager who called police is no longer at that store. Protesters also gathered outside a status hearing on rapper Meek Mill's case Monday. He wasn't released from prison just yet, but the District Attorney's office gave fans some hope he'll receive a new trial. Details on that and much more ahead.
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Trouble is still brewing for Starbucks following the arrests of two African American men at a Center City location last week. Protests and a sit-in sprouted up at the store again Monday and traveled to multiple locations of the chain, with protesters calling for the firing of the store manager who called the police. The manager has since left the store.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson came to Philadelphia Monday to meet with the two men, who were arrested for refusing to leave the cafe when asked, saying they were waiting for a friend to arrive. Johnson also told the Inquirer Monday the company now plans to offer unconscious-bias training for its managers.
Local scholars who study corporate errors say Starbucks is making all the right PR moves and the civilian oversight board for Philadelphia police say the arresting officers did nothing wrong. For those looking to boycott the brand, there are plenty of independent coffee shops in Philly open for business.
Rapper Meek Mill was not let out of prison Monday as some fans had hoped. At a status hearing on Mill's case — he's been sentenced to two to four years in jail for violating probation — Common Pleas Court Judge Genece E. Brinkley refused to hear his attorneys' arguments for his release.
But Mill and his supporters did receive a ray of hope from District Attorney Larry Krasner's office. Assistant District Attorney Liam Riley said at the hearing that Mill's conviction should be vacated and he should get a new trial.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine has approved the sale of cannabis flower, the traditional smokable or vaporizable form of the plant. That's big news for both the "cannabiz" and patients who've only been able to buy pricey marijuana oils and extracts from state dispensaries since the medical marijuana program launched in February.
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