A video showing that two black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia provoked national outrage and prompted an apology from the coffee giant's top executive.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson on Saturday expressed his "deepest apologies" to the men, who were arrested Thursday after refusing to leave the cafeteria because they did not make a purchase.
An employee accused the men of trespassing.
Johnson hoped to "do things right" by having the Seattle-based company review its policies to prevent similar situations from developing in the future.
Meanwhile, Johnson said he plans to travel to Philadelphia.
"I hope to meet personally with the two men who were arrested to offer a face-to-face apology." Johnson said.
The two black men were waiting for a third person for a business meeting, the Inquirer of Philadelphia reported, when a store clerk said they were trespassing and called local authorities.
"Unfortunately, our practices and training led to a bad result," Johnson wrote. "The basis of the call to the Philadelphia police department was incorrect, our store manager never intended to arrest these men and this should never have escalated as he did."
Police Commissioner Richard Ross defended his arresting officers, who were caught in a viral video seen more than four million times. The commissioner said the agents "did absolutely nothing" and acted professionally.
Ross, who is black, said he is sensitive to incidents related to race.
"As an African-American man, I am very aware of the implicit prejudice, we are committed to a fair and impartial police action," he said.
Still, he said that the officers had acted in accordance with the protocol.
"If you think logically, if a business calls and they say someone is here where they no longer want to be in my business, they (the officers) now have a legal obligation to fulfill their obligations." And they did, "he said. Ross.
The Inquirer reports that the duo was released early Friday, citing their attorney, Lauren Wimmer.
"The video speaks for itself," Wimmer said in a statement, c the entire arrest is "reprehensible."
"Two young black men, who simply waited for a friend to join them, were flagrantly discriminated against because of their race," he wrote. "It's not only inexcusable, it's illegal."
Another video shows Alan Yaffe, the third of the meeting and a real estate professional, challenging the arrest.
"What were your names?" He asked. . "Why are there two black guys sitting here meeting me? Tell me, what did they do?" Jaffe is heard to say
"I wanted to have coffee for two black boys sitting and meeting with me," he says. "Does anyone else think this is ridiculous?" Asks other coffee customers.
"It's ridiculous, I saw it," you can hear a woman say.
"It is clearly discrimination," adds Yaffe. The police responded that the men were "invading", which Yaffe disputed.
Other Starbucks customers say they did not see men cause problems.
The two men were taken out of the cafe with handcuffs and released for lack of evidence that a crime has been committed.
The police are conducting an internal investigation of the incident.
With Nicole Hensley, News Wire Services
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