Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson Calls Arrest of Two Men 'Reprehensible' in New Apology
The men were reportedly held for 12 hours.
The CEO of Starbucks has issued another apology to two African-American men who were arrested at a Philadelphia location over the weekend.
In a viral video captured of the moment, the two men are seen being handcuffed and led out of the establishment as patrons question why the men are being arrested.
“I want to begin by offering a personal apology to two gentlemen who were arrested in our store,” CEO Kevin Johnson said in a video he posted online Monday. “What happened and the way it escalated and the outcome is nothing but reprehensible.”
Johnson also met with the two men Monday morning, reports said.
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. When they sat down, the police were called.
The men, who are both real estate agents, were accused of trespassing and handcuffed.
“I look over at them and they are looking at the police like 'what’s going on?' and the police tell them they are being asked to leave because they aren’t buying anything,” said Michelle Saahene, an eyewitness. “It went from them not buying a coffee or latte to them literally being put in handcuffs."
She said there were about seven cops present for the arrest.
“You arrested them because they didn’t buy a coffee. There is no explanation for that,” Saahene said.
Johnson told Good Morning America that he would like to “meet with the guys.”
“These two gentlemen did not deserve what happened, and we are accountable,” he said. “I am accountable.”
Protesters were still gathered outside of the Philadelphia location on Monday. Some chanted, "A whole lot of racism, a whole lot of crap, Starbucks coffee is anti-black."
The store manager who initially denied the men entry to the restroom "no longer works at that store," New York Daily News reported. There is reportedly an internal review pending for the employee, reports said.
A lawyer for the two men, Stewart Cohen, told CBS news that the incident was a clear case of racial profiling.
"When I walk in and I don't order anything and I'm dressed like this, no manager is calling the police on me," Cohen said. "If they were white, would this have happened?"
After the incident, the men were reportedly held for nearly 12 hours and then released without being charged.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross defended the actions of officers in the video saying his officers "did absolutely nothing wrong."
The case has since been dropped, according to the district attorney's office.
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