Starbucks apologizes after video shows arrest of 2 black men in Philly store
The two men were later released by police without charges.
After two men were seen in social media video being handcuffed and removed by police officers from a Philadelphia Starbucks Thursday, the coffee chain issued an apology and said it is looking into the "unfortunate result."
Authorities were called to the store in Center City when the two men allegedly remained in the Starbucks after a manager told them they had to order something, according to the witnesses inside the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce streets. About five to seven police officers arrived about 4:30 p.m. and arrested the two men.
The men, who have not been identified, were later released after Starbucks declined to press trespassing charges.
Video of the encounter shows the two men calm as they are surrounded by officers, who ask them to stand up before handcuffing them and leading them out of the store. Witnesses inside the store could be heard asking what the men did that would lead the officers to arrest them.
@Starbucks The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing. All the other white ppl are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing. pic.twitter.com/0U4Pzs55Ci— Melissa DePino (@missydepino) April 12, 2018
"I’m black and it was just so, I was scared for them," witness Michelle Saahene told NBC10. "I was so angry I was trembling. I was furious. I even approached the manager. ... I asked the barista why she called the cops on them."
Saahene said she was told that the store manager called police.
"They actually put them in handcuffs because they didn’t buy a f--- latte," Saahene said.
By Saturday afternoon, Commissioner Richard Ross took to Facebook Live and defended his officers' actions. He said the men refused to leave the store after a few requests by the responding officers.
A Starbucks spokesman said in a statement that the company regrets "the disruption this created for our customers and partners."
"We seek a welcoming environment," Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges said.
The chain also issued an apology on its Twitter page Saturday, that said the company was "disappointed this led to an arrest. ... We clearly have more work to do when it comes to how we handle incidents in our stores."
The statement added that the company is looking into the details of what "led to this unfortunate result" so "these types of situations never happen in any of our stores.
Borges added that it is company policy for Starbucks stores in Philadelphia, and in many other cities, to require anyone who wishes to use the facilities, including the bathrooms and sitting areas, to purchase something.
Read more from NBC10's website.