Star­bucks CEO apol­o­gizes to 2 black men ar­rested

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - OBITUARIES -

PHILADEL­PHIA » The CEO of Star­bucks Corp. said he wants to per­son­ally apol­o­gize to two black men who were ar­rested while sit­ting in­side one of the chain’s cof­fee shops in Philadel­phia, an in­ci­dent that prompted ac­cu­sa­tions of racism on so­cial me­dia .

Star­bucks “stands firmly against dis­crim­i­na­tion or racial pro­fil­ing,” Chief ex­ec­u­tive Kevin John­son said in a state­ment. He said he wants to meet with the men to of­fer a “face-to-face apol­ogy.”

A video posted on­line shows po­lice hand­cuff­ing the men af­ter a quiet dis­cus­sion that lasted sev­eral min­utes.

Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Richard Ross said Star­bucks em­ploy­ees called 911 to say the men were tres­pass­ing. 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.

John­son’s state­ment didn’t ad­dress ex­actly what led to the po­lice call, but a Star­bucks spokes­woman said the store where the ar­rests oc­curred has a pol­icy that re­strooms were for pay­ing cus­tomers only. In the video, no Star­bucks items are vis­i­ble in front of ei­ther of the men.

John­son said the com­pany’s prac­tices and train­ing led to a “bad out­come,” and the rea­son for the call that brought po­lice into the shop was in­cor­rect.

“Our store man­ager never in­tended for these men to be ar­rested and this should never have es­ca­lated as it did,” said the state­ment. John­son said videos of the ar­rest were “very hard to watch,” and the com­pany was in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

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