Starbucks apologizes after two black men arrested at Philadelphia shop

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Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson called the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia store last week "reprehensible" and promised to take action so that it doesn't happen again.

The protesters moved to the front counter shortly after 7 a.m. Monday and chanted "Starbucks coffee is anti-black".

What a witness says happenedJohnson was in Philadelphia Monday morning, a day after protesters rallied Sunday at the downtown Philadelphia Starbucks where the two black men, who have yet to be identified, were led out in handcuffs by police and accused of trespassing.

The two men were waiting inside the coffee franchise for a friend of theirs when they were approached by a manager for not ordering anything, after attempting to use the bathroom.

Allegedly, the men were waiting to meet their friend according to witnesses when they were asked to leave.

"There are very few African-American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store", he said after the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Johnson said Starbucks will train their partners to "better know when police assistance is warranted".

"I personally apologize to the two gentlemen that visited our store", Johnson said.

"If nothing is done about what happened, then yeah", Wilkins, 56, said as he went into a Starbucks. Starbucks has since apologized for the incident, and its CEO said he would like to speak to the two men involved.

At the time of his arrest, the man was with another volunteer canvassing for Penny Newman who is running for the Riverside County Board of Supervisors Second District seat.

Protesters gathered at the Philadelphia store Monday morning, many with signs asking for the manager responsible for the incident to be fired. "We will hit them where it hurts and that's in their pockets", Abdul-Ali Muhammad of the Black and Brown Workers Cooperative said.

"Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling", he said in the blog post.

Attorney Stewart Cohen at first indicated the meeting would take place Monday but later said he was not saying when it would occur. Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney has also ordered a city commission to review Starbucks' policies "including the extent of, or need for, implicit bias training for its employees". Still, he said, "the notion of black people now being unwanted on downtown Philadelphia is not brand new ... that really is the under belly of gentrification". They were released and no changes have been filed in that incident, which generated outrage and accusations of racism against the Seattle-based megachain. Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did.

The two men arrested were later released as there was no evidence to support their original arrest.

Police departments across the United States have come under criticism for repeated instances of killing unarmed black men in recent years, which activists blame on racial biases in the criminal justice system.

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