Two black men were handcuffed and paraded out the door of a Philadelphia Starbucks for allegedly refusing to leave when asked by staffers and police in an incident captured in a video that went viral and prompted the chief executive officer of the coffee company to say the “reprehensible outcome” should have never happened.
The video, posted by Melissa DePino, took place at around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday inside of a Starbucks on Spruce Street near South 18th Street.
DePino’s footage immediately went viral on Twitter, racking up more than 9 million views.
Starbuck’s CEO Kevin Johnson released a statement apologizing to the two men on behalf of the company and saying he hopes to meet with them to “offer a face-to-face apology.”
“The video shot by customers is very hard to watch and the actions in it are not representative of our Starbucks mission and values,” Johnson said in his statement released late Saturday. “Creating an environment that is both safe and welcoming for everyone is paramount for every store. Regretfully, our practices and training led to a bad outcome — the basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong. Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did.”
In an interview with ABC News, Melissa DePino, a 50-year-old writer and mother of two, said a Starbucks barista shouted from behind the counter at the two men to make a purchase or leave.
“They were sitting quietly minding their own business, and waiting for their friend to come,” she said.
DePino said she was so appalled by the incident, she plans to not go anymore to Starbucks.
“Plenty of other local places to go,” she said.
The incident caught on video also brought criticism from the mayor of Philadelphia, which has the nickname, City of Brotherly Love.
Mayor Jim Kenney tweeted: “I’m very concerned by the incident at Starbucks. I know Starbucks is reviewing it and we will be too. @PhillyPolice is conducting an internal investigation.”
On Saturday evening, the mayor put out another statement saying he was “heartbroken” to witness what “appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018.”
“For many, Starbucks is not just a place to buy a cup of coffee, but a place to meet up with friends or family members, or to get some work done,” he said in the statement.
Kenney also said that he had asked the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations to “examine the firm’s policies and procedures” and would be reaching out to Starbucks “to begin a discussion about this.”
He went on to add there would be “a thorough review” of police policies with regard to “complaints like this.”
The same day Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. posted a detailed account of the incident, in which he defended his officers’ actions.
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SOURCE: ABC News – M.L. Nestel