Starbucks CEO issues apology after video of Philly arrests goes viral
PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - The CEO of Starbucks has issued his own apology following a controversial arrest at a Philadelphia storefront last week.
Kevin Johnson released his statement on Starbucks' website late Saturday night, "with a goal of doing whatever we can to make things right," to "make any necessary changes to our practices that would help prevent such an occurrence from ever happening again" and "reassure you that Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling."
Johnson plans to join the regional vice president in Philadelphia to speak with partners, customers and community leaders as well as law enforcement.
"Most importantly, I hope to meet personally with the two men who were arrested to offer a face-to-face apology," Johnson said.
The Starbucks CEO said the company has begun a thorough investigation of their practices.
"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. "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," Johnson said.
Johnson said Starbucks will train their partners to "better know when police assistance is warranted."
He said a company-wide meeting will be held next week to discuss next steps and "underscore our long-standing commitment to treating one another with respect and dignity."
Video of the arrest, which took place on Thursday at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce streets in Center City, was posted to Twitter.
The video garnered more than 7 million views by the weekend and prompted an internal investigation within the Philadelphia Police Department.
According to Commissioner Richard Ross, officers received a trespassing call from Starbucks after the men allegedly used the restroom without making a purchase, which goes against company policy.
Ross defended his officers' actions, saying the men refused to leave after several requests by the responding officers.
"These officers did absolutely nothing wrong," Ross said. "They did a service that they were called to do. They have a legal obligation to carry out their duties."
Twitter users took issue with the incident, alleging racism on the part of Starbucks and urging the company to take action.
The men were later released after Starbucks declined to press charges, per Ross.
The company released the following statement Saturday:
Protesters gathered outside the Center City Starbucks on Sunday in solidarity with the two men arrested.
This is an ongoing investigation.