This weekend, footage of two black men being arrested (seemingly for no reason) in a Philadelphia Starbucks immediately went viral. Social media showed a fair amount of outrage due to police seemingly being called because the two men hadn’t ordered anything while waiting for a friend, as opposed to (as one tweeter pointed out) “white ppl … wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing.” Starbucks quickly issued an apology while expressing disappointment that an arrest happened, and now, CEO Kevin Johnson has addressed the matter in a lengthier statement.
The Starbucks tweet that links to the statement conveys regret that the company’s “practices and training led to the reprehensible outcome,” and Johnson expands much further. He once again apologizes the two men and all Starbucks customers, and he stresses that his company stands opposed to racial profiling or discrimination of any sort. Johnson also wants to meet with the men who were arrested, as he indicates in this excerpted statement:
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.
In the coming days, I will be joining our regional vice president, Camille Hymes — who is on the ground in Philadelphia — to speak with partners, customers and community leaders as well as law enforcement. Most importantly, I hope to meet personally with the two men who were arrested to offer a face-to-face apology.
Johnson states that, in addition to him traveling to the Philly store where this incident occurred, he will oversee a continuing investigation into why police were called to the scene. According to Johnson’s letter, the store’s manager didn’t intend for the two men to be arrested or for the situation to “escalate,” although as bystanders in the viral video stated, the situation didn’t truly escalate, and the men were taken into custody after doing nothing. Thus, both the basis for the call and the actions of law enforcement could conceivably be called into question.
However, CNN reports that Philly Police Commissioner Richard Ross has defended the officers’ actions, saying that officers asked the men to leave “three times” because “they were being asked to leave by employees because they were trespassing.” The men reportedly refused to exit, according to police, and they were temporarily detained at a nearby station before Starbucks communicated that no charges would be pressed. Still, the pressure will be on Starbucks to further explain why police were called to the scene at all.
You can read Johnson’s full statement here.