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Black men arrested at Philadelphia Starbucks agree to meet with CEO

The two black men arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks last week have agreed to meet with Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson...

Posted: Apr 16, 2018 2:00 PM
Updated: Apr 16, 2018 2:01 PM

The two black men arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks last week have agreed to meet with Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson.

The timing of the meeting has not been set, according to a Starbucks spokesperson. The company said it hopes the meeting will occur this week while Johnson is in Philadelphia addressing the controversy over their arrests.

A store manager called the police because the two men were sitting in the store without placing an order. They were arrested for trespassing. The customers said they were waiting for another man to arrive. That person arrived at the store as they were being arrested.

In an interview Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America," Johnson said he hoped to meet with the two men in person to apologize face to face.

"I'd like to have a dialogue with them so that I can ensure that we have opportunity to really understand the situation and show some compassion and empathy for the experience they went through," he said. "Finally as we're working to solve this, I'd like to invite them to join me in finding a constructive way to solve this issue."

He called the arrests "reprehensible" and promised to take action so that it doesn't happen again.

Johnson has apologized repeatedly since news of the arrests went viral last week, but he declined during Monday's interview to say whether the manager would face discipline, declining to "point blame."

"My responsibility is to look not only at that individual but to look more broadly at the circumstances that set that up, to ensure that this never happens again," he said on "Good Morning America."

But the manager in the store who called police is no longer working in that store, said Starbucks spokesperson Jaime Riley, although she would not comment if she is working at another location.

Johnson said staff would get more training on "unconscious bias."

"I've been very focused on understanding what guidelines and what training ever let this happen," he said. "What happened was wrong, and we will fix it."

Johnson had already posted apologies on the company's website. He said the company wanted to "express our deepest apologies to the two men who were arrested with a goal of doing whatever we can to make things right." He was in Philadelphia on Monday when he conducted the interview on "Good Morning America."

"Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling," he said in the blog post.

Related: Starbucks achieves pay equity in the United States

The problems started when the men asked for the code needed to use the bathroom and were told it was only available for paying customers. There is no companywide policy on bathroom use at Starbucks stores, but many stores in high traffic areas require a code that is printed on receipts in order to use the bathroom.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issued his own statement saying the incident "appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018." He added that the apology from Starbucks "is not enough" and that he would ask the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations to examine the firm's policies and procedures and whether there should be bias training for its employees.

Some Philadelphia residents want Starabucks to close the store involved in the incident. Protesters were in front of the store Monday, and some of the protestors went inside the store when heavy rains started. They were allowed into the store without being required to buy anything, said Riley.

"We're welcoming people to share their point of view in the store," said Riley.

Prosecutors in Philadelphia have announced they will not pursue charges against the men. Police Commissioner Richard Ross defended his officers' actions in a statement on Facebook, saying that the officers were called to respond to a trespassing complaint and that they behaved properly and followed procedure.

Related: Starbucks is giving baristas paid sick leave and stock bonuses

Starbucks has a history of advocating racial equality. In 2015 in the face of protests nationwide about police shootings of black men, Starbucks launched what it called the "race together" effort, having employees write that term on coffee cups to try to engage customers to think and talk about racial issues.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 159036

Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10563104
Hinds10414204
Harrison7397113
Jackson6655128
Rankin6057107
Lee540396
Madison5120107
Forrest394786
Jones376188
Lauderdale3663147
Lafayette341053
Washington3321108
Lamar301950
Oktibbeha255262
Lowndes252867
Bolivar248084
Panola237353
Neshoba2280122
Marshall225051
Leflore211191
Monroe209778
Pontotoc208131
Lincoln200566
Sunflower194155
Warren183058
Tate180451
Union172926
Copiah170840
Pike166760
Scott161330
Yazoo161340
Itawamba159936
Alcorn159328
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Prentiss154931
Simpson154053
Adams147252
Grenada145445
Leake141844
Holmes134461
Covington130040
Tippah130030
George129525
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Hancock127641
Wayne123024
Attala122834
Marion121447
Tishomingo114043
Chickasaw110732
Newton110529
Tallahatchie99427
Clay96127
Clarke94853
Jasper87023
Stone82015
Calhoun79513
Walthall79330
Montgomery78426
Carroll75515
Lawrence74614
Smith74216
Yalobusha74228
Noxubee73317
Perry68726
Tunica63019
Greene62422
Jefferson Davis59617
Claiborne59216
Amite57615
Humphreys55219
Quitman5107
Benton50418
Kemper48018
Webster47714
Wilkinson40722
Jefferson38312
Choctaw3637
Franklin3635
Sharkey32917
Issaquena1214
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 256828

Reported Deaths: 3711
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34214511
Mobile20299366
Madison13925150
Tuscaloosa13591156
Montgomery12659238
Shelby1095877
Baldwin9163137
Lee792566
Morgan710851
Etowah677467
Calhoun6695121
Marshall665757
Houston548239
DeKalb504738
Cullman472043
St. Clair451857
Limestone447546
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Elmore427564
Walker3818111
Talladega374457
Jackson350723
Colbert336443
Blount310043
Autauga287342
Franklin259734
Coffee254115
Dale242054
Dallas232932
Chilton230841
Russell22813
Covington227934
Escambia206131
Tallapoosa189191
Chambers185950
Pike162214
Clarke161819
Marion146136
Winston141924
Lawrence135336
Pickens127720
Geneva12638
Marengo125224
Bibb123938
Barbour120629
Butler118842
Randolph105922
Cherokee105524
Hale99732
Fayette96316
Clay93525
Washington93319
Henry8946
Monroe83811
Lowndes82129
Cleburne79914
Macon76522
Crenshaw72930
Conecuh72414
Lamar7138
Bullock70919
Perry6927
Wilcox64918
Sumter58922
Greene44218
Choctaw43519
Coosa3724
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