Starbucks apologises to two black men arrested as they waited in shop

Starbucks has apologised after two black men were arrested while waiting in one of its coffee shops in the US.

Footage showed officers in Philadelphia taking the men away in handcuffs, as onlookers insisted the pair had done nothing wrong.

The video, which has been viewed more than six million times on Twitter, shows a white man telling officers he had arrived to meet the two men and questioning why they had been arrested.

Melissa DePino, who posted the footage on Twitter, said: “All the other white (people) are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing.”

Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney said he was “heartbroken” about the incident which “appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018”.

But Police Commissioner Richard Ross insisted his officers “did absolutely nothing wrong” after employees at the store reported a disturbance and trespassing.

He said staff had told officers the two men wanted to use a bathroom in the coffee shop but were informed it was only for paying customers.

The pair repeatedly refused to leave when asked politely by employees and officers, he added.

Mr Ross that as an African-American man he was acutely aware of implicit bias, adding: “We are committed to fair and unbiased policing and anything less than that will not be tolerated in this department.

The two arrested men were released after officers learnt Starbucks was “no longer interested” in prosecuting them, Mr Ross said.

Starbucks has apologised to the two men and said it was “disappointed” the incident led to an arrest.

“We take these matters seriously and clearly have more work to do when it comes to how we can handle incidents in our stores,” the company said.

“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.”

Mayor Kenney said he had asked the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations to examine Starbucks’ policies and procedures, including the potential need for implicit bias training for its employees. Source: LBC