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Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Two black men were arrested at Starbucks because they didn't buy anything

Two black men were arrested at Starbucks because they didn't buy anything

The video shows officers handcuffing the two while another man is overheard saying he was meeting the men, calling the arrest "ridiculous".

Police said the men were arrested Thursday after they refused multiple requests to leave the store.

Ross said he doesn't patronize Starbucks but recalled an incident from a few years ago in which a uniformed sergeant was denied access to a Starbucks bathroom "so they are at least consistent in their policy". 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. Saahene said that the two men were polite and never got angry or raised their voices.

The "same thing", specifically, is waiting for a friend or sitting at Starbucks before ordering a drink. Ross said his officers "did absolutely nothing wrong".

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney's office, the police department and Starbucks launched separate investigations into the incident. The sole reason for their arrest was that they refused to obey a perfectly lawful order by police.

"The officers said the manager asked them to leave and that if they did not leave the cafe, they would be trespassing", witness Michelle Saahene said to NBC Philadelphia.

Video of Thursday's incident showed other patrons telling officers the pair were doing nothing wrong and appeared to have been targeted merely due to their race.

The company response, he said, was not enough, and he directed the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations to review Starbucks policies and determine whether the company would benefit from training for implicit bias - unconscious discrimination based on race.

Melissa DePino, who recorded the viral video of the incident, told Philadelphia magazine the men did not escalate the situation.

As the retweets of the video multiplied, the local police commissioner Richard Ross insisted his officers had simply performed their duty.

Later that night, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson issued another apology, saying the company is investigating and will make any necessary changes to their practices. One officer suggested that they faced charges for "defiant trespassing", Wimmer said.

The two men, whom she declined to identify, were taken to a police station, fingerprinted and photographed.

On Friday, Starbucks issued an apology, followed by a longer statement on Saturday.

"So they [Starbucks] are at least consistent in their policy", he said. "Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling", he said.

"We have immediately begun a thorough investigation of our practices", Johnson said in his statement.

The two Philadelphia police officers who controversially arrested two black men who were doing nothing in a Starbucks have received a vote of confidence from their police commissioner. "Tell me, what did they do?".

"They were professional in all their dealings with these gentlemen, and instead they got the opposite back".

Johnson said he hopes to improve the company for all Starbucks employees and customers.

He said he would consult with customers, community leaders and law enforcement to prevent similar incidents from ever happening again, and would train staff to respond better in the future.

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