“I think that until they have made some progressive steps to let us know how to rectify the situation, I don’t see no other answer”.
The CEO also said that Starbucks would investigate the incident and make any necessary changes to prevent it happening again. The protest spilled into the store where Starbucks Regional Vice President Camille Hymes spoke to the crowd, addressing calls for the manager’s firing. The Rev. Mark Tyler, pastor at Mother Bethel AME church and a leader at POWER, expects 100 to 200 clergy and congregation members to sit-in for two hours in a show of solidarity with the two men.
Johnson, the CEO, said Starbucks accepts full responsibility for what occurred.
Police recalled that the two men were trying to use the bathroom last Thursday but were denied because they did not purchase anything in the store. “Starbucks’ reputation as an inclusive meeting place is eroding”, someone else said. An employee called police, leading to the men’s arrest, according to the Associated Press and Starbucks. A different attorney who had earlier represented them had described them as professionals in commercial real estate.
A store manager called the police because the two men were sitting in the store without placing an order.
Philadelphia’s police commissioner has defended the arrest, saying his officers had to act after Starbucks employees told them the pair was trespassing.
Starbucks Corp Chief Executive Kevin Johnson hopes to meet with the two black men arrested at one of its Philadelphia cafes last week to apologise for the incident, which has sparked accusations of racial profiling at the coffee chain.
“Starbucks was built as a company that creates a warm, welcoming environment for all customers”, he told “GMA”. What happened and the way that incident escalated and the outcome is nothing but reprehensible and I’m sorry. “And that is what we’re focused on”.
NBC and CNN reported that Johnson was expected to meet with the two men.
“Further, it seems that the men who were ultimately arrested in this incident may not have been legally justified to be in Starbucks once they refused to make a purchase and did not leave when asked by both the store management and police”. Police were called when the men did not leave.
Johnson’s comments came as about two dozen protesters took over the Starbucks location where the arrests happened.
The moment has drawn comparisons to civil disobedience protests during the civil rights movement, when black Americans’ refusals to leave segregated lunch counters were met with police force. An employee said Starbucks company policy was to refuse the use of the bathrooms to non-customers and asked the men to leave, according to Ross. Starbucks has been facing national outrage after a video surfaced of two black men being arrested at the Philadephia coffee store while waiting for a friend.
Packing into the store with posters criticizing Starbucks’ misstep, protesters were heard chanting, “Starbucks coffee is anti-black” and “A whole lot of coffee, a whole lot of whack”. Her Twitter feed noted “The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything”.