PHILADELPHIA (CBSNewYork) — Protests were held Sunday at the Philadelphia Starbucks location where two black men were arrested for refusing to leave.
Cell phone video from Thursday shows the men being taken into custody.
They say they had asked to use the restroom without buying anything. Employees called police, who said they asked the men to leave several times.
Activists are now demanding the store manager be fired.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross has come to the defense of the officers involved in the arrest.
“They followed policy, they did what they were supposed to do, they were professional in all their dealings with these gentlemen, and instead they got the opposite back,” he said. “I will say as an African American male, I am very aware of implicit bias. We are committed to fair and unbiased policing, and anything less than that will not be tolerated in this department.
Starbucks took to Twitter to offer an apology to the “two individuals” and customers who were present, and said they were “disappointed this led to an arrest.”
“We take these matters seriously and clearly have more work to do when it comes to how we handle incidents in our stores,” the company said in a statement. “We are reviewing our policies and will continue to engage with the community and the police department to try to ensure these types of situations never happen in any of our stores.”
Late Saturday night, CEO Kevin Johnson shared a longer statement, which read in part, “I’m writing this evening to convey three things: First, to once again express our deepest apologies to the two men who were arrested with a goal of doing whatever we can to make things right. Second, to let you know of our plans to investigate the pertinent facts and make any necessary changes to our practices that would help prevent such an occurrence from ever happening again. And third, to reassure you that Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling.”
Click here to read the full statement.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said he’s “very concerned by the incident at Starbucks.”
“I know Starbucks is reviewing it and we will be too,” Kenney posted to Twitter Saturday.
CBS2 asked Starbucks for an explanation on policies about whether you have to buy something to sit in a store or use a restroom but didn’t receive an answer.
The java giant has apologized to the two men, and says it plans to investigate the matter further.