PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) – A Philadelphia Starbucks is the target of protesters after two black men were arrested when store employees called 911 to say they were trespassing.
Protests began Monday morning outside the Starbucks but quickly moved inside where protesters began chanting, “Starbucks coffee is anti-black.”
A regional manager then asked to talk to the protesters but the demonstrators told her no.
Over the weekend, protesters called for the firing of the employee who contacted police, who arrested the men on Thursday.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross has said officers were told the men had asked to use the store’s restroom but were denied because they hadn’t bought anything. He said they then 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.
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.
“You can and should expect more from us. We will learn from this and be better.”