Starbucks CEO apologizes after arrests of 2 black men

16 April, 2018, 02:13 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • The scene outside of the Starbucks at 1801 Spruce St. in Philadelphia on Monday afternoon

Coffee chain Starbucks has apologised after two black men were arrested while waiting for a friend at one of their shops in the U.S. city of Philadelphia.

According to Johnson's letter, the store's manager didn't intend for the two men to be arrested or for the situation to "escalate", although as bystanders in the viral video stated, the situation didn't truly escalate, and the men were taken into custody after doing nothing.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson posted a lengthy apology for the incident, as well, and said he is traveling to Philadelphia to address the situation.

The company "stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling", he added.

The city's police commissioner defended the arrests, saying employees said the men wanted to use the restroom but were denied because they hadn't bought anything. He repeatedly asked an officer "what did they do?".

The men were accused of trespassing but have said they were waiting for a friend before ordering. "All the other white ppl are wondering why it's never happened to us when we do the same thing". Ross corroborated the manager's account of the men being asked to leave, although witness accounts from Lauren and others cast doubt on if the manager bothered to directly ask the men to leave before calling the police. Ross said the men were released when authorities learned Starbucks was "no longer interested in prosecuting".

The chief executive officer of coffee behemoth Starbucks wants to apologize in person to the Black men in person who were arrested for sitting inside the coffee shop in Philadelphia and did not cause a disturbance.

The two men went into the Philadelphia Starbucks asking to use the restroom but they were refused because they didn't purchase anything per the company's policy, according to Ross. Still refusing to leave when police ordered them off the premises, they were arrested.

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Mr Johnson said he hoped to "meet personally with the two men who were arrested to offer a face-to-face apology". Drummer Questlove of the group Roots tweeted a question: "Waiting in a Starbucks while black is a crime?"

"And so they asked the two males to leave and they refused to leave and the police were called", Ross said in the video posted on the department's Facebook page.

A police spokesman told the Inquirer that the Philadelphia Police Department's internal affairs unit is looking into the incident.

Addressing the issue forthrightly is important in part because Starbucks already has a complicated track record on racial issues.

In his statement, Ross said he believed the officers "did absolutely nothing wrong". "They followed policy, they did what they were supposed to do, they were professional in all their dealings with these gentlemen, and instead, they got the opposite back", Ross insisted. We're taking immediate action to learn from this and be better.

Mayor Jim Kenney spoke out about the incident Saturday in a statement where he called for Philadelphia's Commission on Human Relations to look into the policies of Starbucks. Though the company has often taken very public progressive stances on social issues, then-CEO Howard Schultz triggered a backlash with a 2015 campaign dubbed "Race Together", which aimed to foster conversations about race as national outrage over police shootings of unarmed African-Americans reached a fever pitch.

The video shows several police officers in bicycle helmets, and what appears to be a uniformed supervisor inside the coffee shop.


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