Starbucks apologizes after two black men arrested at Philadelphia shop


Outrage over the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks continued on the evening of April 16.

Police haven't released the names of the men who were arrested and later released after the district attorney's office said there was lack of evidence that a crime had been committed. In 2015 in the face of protests nationwide about police shootings of black males, Starbucks launched what it called the "race together" effort, having employees write that term on coffee cups to try to engage customers to think and talk about racial issues.

Last month, Applebee's fired three employees after they were involved in the racial profiling of two African-American women who, while during their dinner at the Independence, Missouri, restaurant, were falsely accused of skipping out without paying their bill the day before. "Whether that is changes to the policy and the practice, additional store manager training, including training around unconscious bias, and we will address this", said CEO Kevin Johnson. The video has since been viewed more than 9 million times. They soon entered the store and kept it from opening to the public.

The protest forced the store to shut down for the busy morning rush. They refused and were led away in handcuffs. It has tried to stand apart from diners like Applebee's and IHOP, where other racially charged incidents have occurred recently.

"Most importantly, I hope to meet personally with the two men who were arrested to offer a face-to-face apology", Johnson said.

"I can tell you candidly these officers did a service they were called to do", he said. "And I'm sorry", Johnson said.

Also on Monday afternoon, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said in a statement that the arrests represented "another ominous signal on the increasingly risky environment for African-Americans". About 75 people and at least two dozen uniformed officers attended the noon protest, organized by Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif. Among the demonstrators was Melissa DePino, who captured the video of the arrest being passed around on social media.

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"You have lost your opportunity to have a voice", Malachi said.

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. "Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did", he added. "And they did just that".

PhillyVoice pointed to a second, longer video uploaded to YouTube that shows an officer telling the men's friend, Andrew Yaffe, that they were being arrested for "trespassing". "This is what allies do".

The store manager who initially denied the men entry to the restroom "no longer works at that store", New York Daily News reported.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, center, walks towards a meeting with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and other officials Monday April 16, 2018, at Philadelphia City Hall. "They followed policy. They did what they were supposed to do".

Author and commentator Eric Schiffer, CEO of, said the episode means "Starbucks' reputation faces a frightening free-fall that will be crippling for the brand amongst many within the African American community and beyond". I would reverse the argument: If the two men who refused to leave and were arrested were two belligerent white guys, would the CEO be groveling today?