The two African-American men arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks for trespassing have agreed to meet with the coffee chain’s CEO, Kevin Johnson.
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“I’d like to have a dialogue with them so that I can ensure that we have the opportunity to really understand the situation and show some compassion and empathy for the experience they went through,” Starbucks’ CEO Kevin Johnson told “Good Morning America” on Monday.
The Seattle-based company is “hopeful” the meeting will take place this week while Johnson is in the city, a spokesperson told FOX Business.
In a video posted last Thursday by Twitter user Melissa DePino that went viral, the two men involved in the incident were sitting in the Starbucks before being escorted out of the coffee shop in handcuffs. Other patrons in the Philadelphia store can be seen defending the men, saying they did nothing wrong.
DePino wrote in her tweet that “the police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing.”
In response to the incident, Johnson said the company was investigating corporate practices and will further train staff to “better know” when police assistance is needed.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross defended the actions of his officers, saying they “did absolutely nothing wrong” when responding to the 9-1-1 call for “trespassing.” Ross said employees stated that the men wanted to use the restroom, which is only available to Starbucks customers, according to company policy.
“If a business calls and they say ‘that someone is here that I no longer wish to be here in my business,’ they have a legal obligation to carry out their duties and they did just that,” Ross said in a Facebook Live video statement.
The men were later released after it was clear that Starbucks was no longer interested in pressing charges, according to Ross. He added that as an African-American male, he is “very aware of implicit bias.”
The Starbucks CEO on Monday said he would like to work with the two men to find a resolution to the incident.
“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,” Johnson said.