Starbucks chief executive apologises for arrests of two black men

Marcus Newton
April 27, 2018

A store manager called the police because the two men were sitting in the store without placing an order.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson says the company is reviewing the arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia store last week and expects to train store managers on "unconscious bias".

In the video, Mr Yaffe can be heard telling police that the two men were waiting for him. But he added "If a business calls and they say that "Someone is here that I no longer wish to be in my business" (officers) now have a legal obligation to carry out their duties and they did just that".

The two men who were arrested are reportedly both real estate brokers and were held in jail for a number of hours on Thursday before being released at 1:30 a.m.

"I'd like to have a dialogue with them so that I can ensure that we have the opportunity to really understand the situation and show some compassion and empathy for the experience they went through", Johnson said on Good Morning America.

Johnson said Starbucks is investigating the incident and plans to speak with the parties who were involved, including customers who were in the store at the time.

Protesters were still gathered outside of the Philadelphia location on Monday.

On Saturday, Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney said he was "heartbroken" over the video and says Starbucks "should be a place where everyone is treated the same, no matter the color of their skin".

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the Starbucks employee had "terribly disrespected" the two men.

At least six Philadelphia police officers arrived, asked the men to leave, and later arrested them.

"The circumstances surrounding the incident and the outcome in our store on Thursday were reprehensible... they were wrong", Mr Johnson told ABC News on Monday morning. She identified herself as a friend of the man they were meeting with.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross defended the actions of officers in the video saying his officers "did absolutely nothing wrong".

"Most importantly, I hope to meet personally with the two men who were arrested to offer a face-to-face apology", Johnson wrote in the statement.

Police haven't released the names of the men who were arrested.

Many people outside of the Starbucks in Downtown Erie said they see the incident as a classic case of modern-day racial discrimination, "There's a lot of racism everywhere it's never going to stop, I don't think it's ever going to stop", said Willie Crosby of Erie.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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