PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two men who were arrested inside of a Center City Starbucks have now met with the company’s CEO after their arrests sparked allegations of racial discrimination.
This comes in the midst of protests which moved from outside the Rittenhouse Square Starbucks to inside.
Many community members are hurt by what happened last week. Protesters started gathering outside the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce Streets around 7 a.m. They eventually moved inside the coffee shop, calling for the company to change a policy they believe is racist.
“Starbucks coffee is anti-black,” protesters chanted.
Dozens of demonstrators demanded the coffee chain do more than apologize after the video of the controversial arrest of two men went viral.
“We saw the video. We know what happened,” said one protester.
The video shows the men being taken away from the Starbucks in handcuffs Thursday after a manager called police because the two had not made a purchase. Instead, the men told the manager they were waiting for a third person to arrive for a business meeting.
Protesters believe the men were targeted because of their race. Now, they’re calling on Starbucks to let go the manager and end its practice of calling 911 if someone is inside and not making a purchase.
“What you’re going to do is change those policies. What you’re going to do is stop calling the police,” said another protester.
While the protest carried on, a Starbucks spokesperson says CEO Kevin Johnson is in Philadelphia, meeting the two men to apologize in person. Johnson also apologized Sunday in an online video.
“What happened and the way that incident escalated and the outcome is nothing but reprehensible, and I’m sorry,” said Johnson.
Meanwhile, protesters believe what happened Thursday happens too often. Johnson is also expected to meet with city officials, but it’s not clear when that will happen or what will come of it.