Starbucks Issues Apology Over Philadelphia Store Arrests

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Starbucks Corp. issued an apology following the arrest of two black men at a Starbucks store in Philadelphia and said it would launch an investigation into the incident.

Chief Executive Kevin Johnson said he planned to meet with the two men and offer an apology after the “reprehensible outcome.”

“The video shot by customers is very hard to watch and the actions in it are not representative of our Starbucks Mission and Values,” Mr. Johnson said in a memo postedon the company’s website.

The memo cited failures in practices and training that led to the arrests.

“Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did,” Mr. Johnson said.

The mayor of Philadelphia also has ordered a city commission to review policies at Starbucks after the arrest of two black men prompted social media users to accuse the company of racial discrimination, according to an Associated Press report.

Videos posted online show officers handcuffing the men in the downtown Philadelphia establishment on Thursday.

Mayor Jim Kenney said Saturday he was “heartbroken” to see the city in the headlines for an incident that appears at this point “to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018.”

Mr. Kenney said he had asked the Commission on Human Relations to examine the company’s policies and procedures “including the extent of, or need for, implicit bias training for its employees.”

The city’s police commissioner defended the arrests, saying employees said the men wanted to use the restroom but were denied because they hadn’t bought anything. He said they repeatedly refused to leave.

Commissioner Richard Ross said Starbucks employees called police to say the men were trespassing. He said they came in to use the restroom but were denied because they hadn’t bought anything.

Mr. Ross, who is black, said police asked the men to leave three times but they refused. They were arrested and released. Ross said his officers “did absolutely nothing wrong.”

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