They were just waiting to start a business meeting. Now their story is fueling a movement that could permanently change corporate culture.

Two unnamed black men were filmed being led out of a Starbucks location by six Philadelphia police officers on April 12. At the time of this post, the video had already been viewed more than 10 million times.

The city's police commissioner initially defended the arrest, which reportedly came after a local Starbucks manager called in a complaint. Meanwhile, outrage over the incident grew — and so did pressure on Starbucks to address what increasingly is being labeled a case of racial bias.

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I usually work from a café. Every morning, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., you’ll find me there, often writing, sometimes reading. I can usually walk, but sometimes I drive to the ones that are a little far. I park my car, walk in, drop my bag on an empty chair, and get in line for a cup of coffee. This is a routine.

About a year ago, I was in a coffee shop, writing.

Photo via iStock.

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In the 1960s, New York City Police Commissioner Michael J. Murphy enacted a series of policies that put Harlem under what was effectively a police state.

It was the dawn of the modern civil rights movement, and racial tensions were high. Murphy promised to be tough on "racial extremists" and even refused several times to listen to the pleas of civil rights groups who wanted an investigation into police brutality.

The Harlem riot of 1964. Photo via Dick DeMarsico/New York World Telegraph & Sun/Wikimedia Commons.

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