Star­bucks CEO apol­o­gizes to 2 black men ar­rested

The Detroit News - - News - The As­so­ci­ated Press

Philadelphia – Star­bucks sells it­self as a community gath­er­ing spot as much as a cof­fee­house, a wel­com­ing place with com­fort­able chairs for lin­ger­ing, trendy mu­sic and Wi-Fi. That’s one rea­son the ar­rest of two black men who were sit­ting in a Star­bucks struck a nerve for so many: They were do­ing ex­actly what peo­ple do at most any of the chain’s 28,000 stores world­wide.

The CEO of Star­bucks Co., Kevin John­son, called the ar­rests a “rep­re­hen­si­ble out­come” and said he wants to per­son­ally apol­o­gize to the men, say­ing the com­pany “stands firmly against dis­crim­i­na­tion or racial pro­fil­ing.” But that didn’t stop protesters from gath­er­ing Sun­day out­side the store in down­town Philadelphia where the ar­rests oc­curred.

As peo­ple or­dered cof­fee in­side, the Rev. Jef­frey Jor­dan led a crowd of a cou­ple dozen in chants of “I am some­body, and I de­mand equal­ity now.”

“It is a shame that (in) the year 2018 we’re still putting up with this mess,” said Jor­dan.

The ar­rests, which oc­curred Thurs­day, were cap­tured on video that quickly gained trac­tion on so­cial me­dia.

Video shows sev­eral po­lice talk­ing qui­etly with two black men seated at a ta­ble. Af­ter a few min­utes, officers hand­cuff the men and lead them out­side as other cus­tomers say they weren’t do­ing any­thing wrong; Philadelphia-area me­dia re­ported the two had been wait­ing for a friend.

Officers went to the store af­ter Star­bucks em­ploy­ees called 911 to re­port the men were tres­pass­ing, said Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Richard Ross. He said officers were told the men had come in and asked to use the re­stroom but were de­nied be­cause they hadn’t bought any­thing. He said they then re­fused to leave.

A spokes­woman said the Star­bucks where the ar­rests oc­curred has a pol­icy that re­strooms are for pay­ing cus­tomers only.

Mark Makela / Getty Images

Peo­ple demon­strate out­side a Cen­ter City Star­bucks in Philadelphia on Sun­day.

John­son

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