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Starbucks CEO Meets with Men Arrested in Viral Video

The manager of the Philadelphia Starbucks no longer works for the store.

April 16, 2018 - 9:38 am
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS News) - About two dozen chanting protesters on Monday morning entered the Philadelphia Starbucks store where two black men were arrested after store employees called 911 to say they were trespassing.

The protesters chanted: "Starbucks coffee is anti-black" and "We are gonna shut you down." Over the weekend, demonstrators called for the firing of the employee who contacted police, who arrested the men on Thursday.

Late Monday it was confirmed the manager of a Rittenhouse Square Starbucks no longer works for the store following the controversial arrests of two black men last Thursday.

Officials have said police officers were told the men had asked to use the store's restroom but were denied because they hadn't bought anything and they refused to leave. They were arrested for alleged trespassing, although the men claim they were in Starbucks for a business meeting and were waiting for someone.

The CEO of Starbucks said he wants to apologize personally to two black men after video of their arrest in a Philadelphia coffee shop spurred outrage. 

Attorney Stewart Cohen, who represents the two men, said this was a clear case of racial profiling.

"When I walk in and I don't order anything and I'm dressed like this, no manager is calling the police on me," Cohen told CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller. 
 
"If they were white, would this have happened?" Miller asked. "None of the white customers were asked to leave, and they were there a lot longer than those young men who were just there for a few minutes."

Cell phone video shows two black men staying calm in their seats as officers repeatedly ordered them to leave. A third potential business partner arrives a few minutes later and offers to move their meeting somewhere else – but by then it was too late.
 
"They're not free to leave. We're done. We're done with that. We asked them to leave the first time," one police officer could be heard saying.

Police haven't released the names of the men who were arrested. A spokesman for the district attorney's office said the two were released "because of lack of evidence" that a crime had been committed.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has called the arrests a "reprehensible outcome" and said he wants to personally apologize to the men.

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