Starbucks CEO Apologized For The 'Reprehensible' Arrest Of Two Black Men At A Philadelphia Store, Who Witnesses Said Were 'Doing Nothing' | Spanlish

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Starbucks CEO Apologized For The 'Reprehensible' Arrest Of Two Black Men At A Philadelphia Store, Who Witnesses Said Were 'Doing Nothing'

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson issued an apology on Saturday after a video of two black men being arrested at a Philadelphia store location went viral. The video was posted by a witness who said the men were merely "waiting for a friend to show up," only to be taken out in handcuffs for "doing nothing." 

Johnson called the video "hard to watch," adding that the actions in it are "not representative" of Starbucks Mission and Values. He offered his "deepest apologies" to the two men, who, according to the Washington Post, were asked to leave the Starbucks by a manager after they attempted to use the restroom despite not making any purchases. Afterward, the manager called 911. 

The men's attorney, Lauren Wimmer, insisted the same thing the witness who posted the video did: they were just waiting for a friend. Specifically, they had planned to meet Andrew Yaffe, who runs a real estate firm, to discuss business opportunities. At least six officers showed up to the Starbucks location and took the men to a police station where they were "fingerprinted and photographed," and released eight hours later "because the district attorney found no evidence of a crime," reports the Washington Post

Other witnesses recorded the incident, and in one video, Yaffe can be seen arriving and talking to police. "Why would they be asked to leave?” Yaffe says in the video. "Does anybody else think this is ridiculous? It’s absolute discrimination."

Off-camera, a woman can be heard saying, "They didn’t do anything."

"Creating an environment that is both safe and welcoming for everyone is paramount for every store," Johnson said. "Regretfully, our practices and training led to a bad outcome—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's mayor, Jim Kenney, also spoke out about what happened. "I am heartbroken to see Philadelphia in the headlines for an incident that — at least based on what we know at this point — appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018."

The police commissioner of Philadelphia saw the incident differently, and is actually defending the actions of the officers. According to CNN, Ross said that his officers "did absolutely nothing wrong."

"[The officers] did a service that they were called to do," Ross said. "And 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, (officers) now have a legal obligation to carry out their duties. And they did just that."

The two men remain unidentified.

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