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.
A video has gone viral with over four million views showing two Black men being arrested at the Starbucks. The episode has incited national outrage and inspired a mea culpa from the coffee giant’s top executive.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson expressed his “deepest apologies” to the men, who were arrested Thursday after refusing to leave the coffee shop because they did not make a purchase, the Washington Post reports.
An employee accused the men of trespassing after they asked to use the restroom without purchasing an item and refused to leave after she ordered them off the premises.
Johnson hoped to “make things right” by having the Seattle-based company review its policies to prevent similar situations from unfolding in the future.
Furthermore, Johnson said he plans on traveling to Philadelphia.
“I hope to meet personally with the two men who were arrested to offer a face-to-face apology,” Johnson said, the Post stated.
The two Black men were waiting for a third person for a business meeting, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The third person appeared just in time to witness his two friends being apprehended and taken to a local police precinct.
Since Starbucks refused to press charges, the men were quickly released without incident.
“Regretfully, our practices and training led to a bad outcome,” Johnson wrote. “The basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong. Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did.”
Philadelphia police commissioner Richard Ross also made a Facebook video defended his officers who made the arrest. The commissioner said the officers “did absolutely nothing wrong” and acted professionally.
Ross, who is black, said he understands that racism exists.
“As an African-American male, I am very aware of implicit bias; we are committed to fair and unbiased policing,” he said.
Still, he said officers had acted appropriately and according to police protocol.
“If you think about it logically, that if a business calls and they say that someone is here that I no longer wish to be in my business, they (the officers) now have a legal obligation to carry out their duties. And they did just that,” Ross said.