Starbucks CEO meets with men arrested in viral video

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PHILADELPHIA — Two men who were arrested inside a Starbucks store in Philadelphia met with the coffee chain’s CEO after their arrests sparked allegations of racial profiling and discrimination, CBS Philadelphia reports. The meeting took place while nearly two dozen protesters took over the shop Monday, demanding answers and changes to the company’s policy of calling police.

The company’s CEO, Kevin Johnson, was in Philadelphia on Monday to meet with the two men and apologize in person, a Starbucks spokesperson told CBS Philadelphia.

“We don’t want this Starbucks to make any money today. That’s our goal,” said Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, one of the protest’s organizers and co-founder of the Black and Brown Workers Collective.

Just before 7:30 a.m., the protesters moved inside and stood in front of the counter, some holding banners reading “End Stop and Frisk,” chanting slogans like, “A whole lot of racism, a whole lot of crap, Starbucks coffee is anti-black.”

Starbucks regional vice president Camille Hymes attempted to talk to the protesters, but was shouted down.

Over the weekend, demonstrators called for the firing of the employee who contacted police on Thursday. Officials have said police officers were told the men had asked to use the store’s restroom but were denied because they hadn’t bought anything and they refused to leave. The men said they were waiting for a business associate, who arrived while they were being placed under arrest.

Police haven’t released the names of the men who were arrested. The two were later released after the district attorney’s office said there was lack of evidence that a crime had been committed.

Over the weekend Johnson issued a statement saying the company is investigating its practices, working on training and will reach out to outside experts to make any needed changes that would help prevent such an occurrence from happening again.

“Creating an environment that is both safe and welcoming for everyone is paramount for every store,” he said in the statement. “Regretfully, our practices and training led to a bad outcome — the basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong. Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did.”

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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