undergroundnewsroom.com May 27, 2018

Starbucks CEO Apologizes for Controversial Arrests

17 April 2018, 06:47 | Gordon Grant

Starbucks CEO Apologizes for Controversial Arrests

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About two dozen chanting protesters have entered a Philadelphia Starbucks Monday and chanted "Starbucks coffee is anti-black" and "We are gonna shut you down".

A store manager called the police because the two men were sitting in the store without placing an order.

The men, who have not given their names to the media, had reportedly asked to use the bathroom at the store while waiting for a friend and were told no because they hadn't purchased anything.

In an interview Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America", Johnson said he hoped to meet with the two men in person to apologize face to face.

The incident happened back on January 23, but Ward posted the video to his Facebook on Saturday.

"When I saw the video, it sickened me because I began to think about my son, who's 23 years old and lives in Brooklyn", said Brewer.

However, Johnson pushed back on calls to fire the store manager, saying the blame "is misplaced" and repeatedly emphasizing that he was the one to be held accountable.

As Johnson spoke, activists resumed protests at the Starbucks store where the men were arrested Thursday while waiting to meet with a white acquaintance.

Starbucks's reputation for being a place where people can hang out - whether for a few minutes between appointments or for hours while they finish up a project - is at the center of public outrage after two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks store on Thursday.

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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 are for paying customers only. And then I look at [the two men arrested] and said, 'Those are the kids who hang out at my house when my son is home. Starbucks did not respond to a request for comment about the employment status of the manager who called police. "All the other white ppl are wondering why it's never happened to us when we do the same thing", wrote Melissa DePino, who posted the video on Twitter. Most soccer moms I know would likely leave private property when asked by police even once.

"I can tell you that that police officer did not want to have to make an arrest in that incident", Ross said. "And that is what we're focused on".

Another protest sponsored by Interfaith Clergy Leaders to occupy the Starbucks is set for 4 p.m.

"These are two black people who just wanted to be in the world", said Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, of the Black and Brown Workers Collective.

Johnson vowed to investigate and to "make any necessary changes to our practices that would help prevent such an occurrence from ever happening again".

"They were wrong, and for that, I personally apologize to the gentlemen that visited our store".

The company "stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling", he said in the statement, in which he acknowledged that the company's training and policies led to a "bad outcome". But "it was completely inappropriate to engage the police", in this particular situation, he said, noting that employees will now have more training, particularly against unconscious bias.

Prosecutors in Philadelphia have announced they will not pursue charges against the men.

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