Posted April 15, 2018 from The Guardian
The mayor of Philadelphia 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.
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.”
Kenney says he’s 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, Richard Ross, defended the arrests, saying 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.
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.”
There was no mention of the white man in the video who said he was meeting with the men. He called the arrest “ridiculous” on video.
On Saturday Kevin Johnson, the CEO of Starbucks, said he wanted to apologize personally to the black men arrested at one of his Philadelphia stores, prompting accusations of racism on social media.
Johnson posted a lengthy statement Saturday night, calling the situation “disheartening” and that it led to a “reprehensible” outcome.
Johnson said it was wrong for the store to call police and he will make any “necessary changes to our practices” and “you should expect more from us.”
He said he’ll be joining Philadelphia’s regional Starbucks manager in the coming days.