Starbucks apologises over arrest of black men

Starbucks Is Having Another

A Sunday afternoon protest was planned outside the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce streets where the two black men were arrested on April 12, while another protest was planned for Monday morning. The attorney for the two men, Lauren Wimmer, told the Philadelphia Inquirer she received word that the two were being released from custody at 12:30 a.m. Friday, almost eight hours after the initial 911 call. One officer suggested that they faced charges for "defiant trespassing", Wimmer said. In the video, he arrives to tell police that the two men were waiting for him.

"What did they do?" one man asks. "Does anybody else think this is ridiculous?" he asks other cafe patrons. Their "crime" - waiting for a friend to meet them there - was originally described as loitering, but apparently now they were "trespassing" for wanting to use the restroom before they'd made a purchase. An officer begins to clear chairs out of the way in apparent anticipation of an arrest. "We asked them to leave the first time".

Did the two men act belligerently? They do not appear to resist.

DePino continued to provide updates on the two men, explaining in another tweet that they were real estate brokers waiting for a family friend. "These guys never raised their voices". She said white customers were "wondering why it's never happened to us when we do the same thing".

The incident is a dramatic turn for a company that has positioned itself as a progressive corporate leader and touts "diversity and inclusion" - efforts that have also drawn its share of criticism. He said he has asked the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations to examine the company's policies and procedures.

Let's pause here to establish that this is now a racial issue, since they are black.

Amateur video shows police placing the pair, who were accused by shop staff of trespassing, in handcuffs. He told a Philly.com reporter he rejects Johnson's apology, saying it was "about saving face".

The company leaves safety and customer service protocol decisions up to store managers, the official said.

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Starbuck's CEO Kevin Johnson released a statement apologizing to the two men on behalf of the company and saying he hopes to meet with then to "offer a face-to-face apology".

In Johnson's apology, he called the situation "disheartening", and said that it "led to a reprehensible outcome". I will say that as an African American man, I am very aware of implicit bias. His office will communicate with Starbucks further to discuss, he said.

Following the tweet from the Police Department, Commissioner Richard Ross went live on Facebook to release a statement regarding the incident.

He also noted that it was only while the men were being processed that they were alerted that Starbucks "no longer wanted to prosecute".

Ross' defense of his officers rests entirely on the legitimacy of this premise, but as he continues his explanation in the video, it becomes even less believable. 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. Nevermind that they could just as easily have been white, oriental, Hispanic or midget sumo wrestlers.

"What did they get called for?"

"It is important for me to say that, in short: These officers did absolutely nothing wrong".

In a statement, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said "the basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong", and that the store never intended for the men to be arrested.

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