Police commissioner apologizes to men arrested in Philadelphia Starbucks

Last week, the city's Black Police Commissioner Richard Ross babbled in a Facebook post that officers "did absolutely nothing wrong", and claimed Nelson and Robinson were disrespectful.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson came forward on ABC News' "Good Morning America" to publicly share their story for the first time.The 23-year-old entrepreneurs and longtime friends said they were waiting to meet a potential business partner at the Starbucks in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square neighborhood April 12 when a barista asked them whether they wanted to order anything.

At a news conference, a sombre Ross said he "failed miserably" in addressing the arrests. Kevin R. Johnson, the company's chief executive, said in a statement, "I've spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it".

"I'm hyper-aware of when I'm in these spaces and what that impact can be and how I say things", said Akbar, 40, a Philadelphia native.

"I can appreciate, in light of the Starbucks policy and how well known it is to many, why these two men were appalled when asked to leave and for this reason, me, I apologize to them", Ross told reporters.

A Philadelphia Starbucks is under fire after the arrest of two black men who they allege were trespassing. A worker complained the men were trespassing, but they maintained they were doing what thousands of people do in the popular coffee shops across the country - waiting to meet a friend.

Two black men were handcuffed and arrested at a Starbucks, setting off a national uproar after the incident was captured on video. They want the chain to implement changes such as a customer bill of rights, new policies regarding customer ejections, racial profiling and racial discrimination, and an independent probe to examine complaints of profiling or discrimination made by customers and employees.

Nelson said the officers told them they had to leave the premises "immediately" without asking any questions first.

The two men said they did not resist arrest even as the officers did not explain to them the charges against them.

Clark said she will sit on a panel and join other minority-business owners in California next week to talk about the Philadelphia incident help create solutions for similar situations. 'Words are very important'. Kevin Johnson, CEO of the Seattle-based company, came to Philadelphia to meet with the men, called the arrests "reprehensible" and ordered more than 8,000 Starbucks stores closed on the afternoon of May 29 so that almost 175,000 employees can receive training on unconscious bias. In the week since, the men have met with Starbucks' CEO and have started pushing for lasting changes to ensure what happened to them doesn't happen to anyone else.

"It allows people to just think in a more mindful way when interacting with other people", said Jason Okonofua, a social psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was the lead researcher. "It didn't really hit me what was going on, that it was real, 'til I was being double-locked with my hands behind my back". Starbucks has, as part of their company philosophy, the Third Place concept. "You can and should expect more from us".

Nelson and Robinson told Robin Roberts they were at Starbucks for a real estate meeting that they had been working on for months.

"There was no reasoning", Robinson said.

The world's biggest coffee company will close its 8,000 U.S. cafes for the afternoon on May 29 so that its employees can undergo training in racial tolerance.

  • Leroy Wright