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Posted: May 14, 2018

Starbucks changes bathroom policy after Philadelphia arrests

Men Arrested In Philadelphia Starbucks Say Manager Called 911 Minutes After They Arrived

By Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Starbucks is changing its policy on who can use the coffee shops’ restrooms. Now anyone can use the facilities no matter if they have purchased anything.

The policy change came after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia coffee shop after being asked to leave for not buying anything, The Associated Press reported.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were at the Starbucks for a business meeting. As they waited for a business associate, one of the men was denied the use of the restrooms and both were told to leave because they hadn’t purchased anything, the AP reported.

They were arrested, which was recorded via cellphone.

The call to 911 was made by now-former store manager Holly Hylton, about two minutes after Nelson and Robinson arrived at the location. Hylton told 911, “I have two gentlemen in my café that are refusing to make a purchase or leave,” The Philadelphia Tribune reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The video quickly went viral. Nelson and Robinson settled with the Starbucks, as well as, with the city of Philadelphia, which gave each man a symbolic $1 settlement and a promise to set up a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs, the AP reported.

Now Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz said that he doesn’t want people to feel “less than” if they are refused the use of the restrooms. 

“We don’t want to become a public bathroom, but we’re going to make the right decision a hundred percent of the time and give people the key,” Schultz told the AP.

Bathroom access was left to the discretion of the store managers, the AP reported.

Shultz said that Nelson and Robinson should never had been arrested, the Tribune reported.

In addition to the new bathroom policy, Starbucks will close more than 8,000 stores in the U.S. on May 29 for racial bias training, The Tribune reported.


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Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Starbucks Schultz

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Starbucks Schultz

FILE PHOTO: CEO Howard Schultz pauses while speaking during the Starbucks annual meeting of shareholders on March 22, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. Schultz recently announced a change in the company's bathroom policy after two black men were arrested for not leaving a Philadelphia Starbucks.

Starbucks CEO Says He Wants To Apologize To Men Arrested In Philadelphia Store

Starbucks CEO Says He Wants To Apologize To Men Arrested In Philadelphia Store

Video showing arrest of two black men at Starbucks sparks outrage

The arrest of two men at a Starbucks in Philadelphia this week has sparked outrage on social media and led to a police investigation after a video of the incident went viral.

>> Read more trending news 

A video clip posted on YouTube Thursday show police talking to two black men for several minutes, then handcuffing them and escorting them off the premises. 

Melissa DePino, who took the video, said, "The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing."

A witness can be heard on the video calling the arrest "ridiculous." 

The video has been viewed more than 3 million times. 

Starbucks released a statement Saturday, apologizing for the incident.

Starbucks' CEO Kevin Johnson told The Associated Press that he wanted to apologize personally to the two men. 

Johnson called the situation "disheartening" and that it led to a "reprehensible" outcome, the AP reported.

Police are conducting an internal investigation. On Saturday, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross told The Associated Press his officers did nothing wrong. Ross claims Starbucks employees called police to say two men were trespassing, after the men’s request to use the bathroom was denied because they had not made a purchase. Ross said that the men were asked three times to leave and refused, at which point they were arrested.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Starbucks' CEO wants to apologize 'face-to-face' to 2 black men arrested at Philly store

The CEO of Starbucks said he wanted to meet personally and “offer a face-to-face apology” to the two black men arrested at a Philadelphia store Thursday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday.

>> Read more trending news

In a statement posted late Saturday, CEO Kevin Johnson called the actions at the Philadelphia Starbucks a “reprehensible outcome.”

“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 wrote in the statement.

A protest of the store at 18th and Spruce streets in Philadelphia took place early Sunday afternoon with more than 100 people outside the store. A “Shut Down Starbucks!”protest was scheduled at the venue Monday morning, the Inquirer reported.

The arrest of the two black men sparked outrage on social media and led to a police investigation after a video of the incident went viral.

A video posted Thursday by Melissa DePino on YouTube shows police talking to the men for several minutes. Officers then handcuffed the men and escorted them out of the store. 

DePino said that "The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing."

In a video posted to Facebook on Saturday, police Commissioner Richard Ross confirmed DePino’s observation and said officers responded to a 911 call for a disturbance at the store. Ross said police were told the men asked to use the restroom but had not ordered anything, a violation of Starbucks’ policy. They were asked to leave and refused to do so, Ross said in the video.

“The police did not just happen upon this event -- they did not just walk into Starbucks to get a coffee,” Ross said in his video. “They were called there, for a service, and that service had to do with quelling a disturbance, a disturbance that had to do with trespassing. These officers did absolutely nothing wrong.”

Johnson addressed the Starbucks policy in his statement.

“Regretfully, our practices and training led to a bad outcome -- the basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong,” Johnson wrote. “Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did.”

>> Video showing arrest of 2 black men at Starbucks sparks outrage

In DePino’s video, a white man, identified by the Inquirer as Andrew Yaffe, a Philadelphia real estate investor, is seen questioning an officer about the arrest. He said the men were waiting to meet him, the Inquirer reported.

“What did they get called for, because there were two black guys sitting here, meeting me?” Yaffe said in the video. “What did they do?”

WPVI reported that an eyewitness named Lauren -- who declined to give her full name -- said a manager made the situation worse by calling police instead of asking the men to buy something or leave. 

After the men had been “quietly hanging out, chatting and waiting for their friend," Lauren said officers entered the restaurant and asked the two men to leave, saying that they would be trespassing if they remained in the store.

"The two young men politely asked why they were being told to leave and were not given a reason other than the manager wanted them to leave," Lauren told WPVI in an email.

The men said they were waiting for a friend and offered to call him, Lauren told WPVI.

“The two men stayed calm and did not raise their voices once. Everyone else in the Starbucks, however, was appalled," she told the television station.

The men were released from custody at 12:30 a.m. Friday, according to Lauren Wimmer, an attorney representing them pro bono, Wimmer declined to identify the two men, the Inquirer reported. It is not clear whether Wimmer was the woman named Lauren who was interviewed by WPVI.

Johnson said Starbucks has “immediately begun a thorough investigation of our practices.”

“In addition to our own review, we will work with outside experts and community leaders to understand and adopt best practices,” Johnson wrote.

Sunday’s protest was organized by Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif, the Inquirer reported. Khalif said Johnson’s apology was “about saving face,” the Inquirer reported.

Starbucks manager leaves company after controversial arrest of 2 black men

PHILADELPHIA -- The Starbucks manager who came under fire after calling 911 last week to report that two black men who were inside the store were trespassing has left the company, officials told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

>> Read more trending news

A company spokeswoman told the Inquirer Monday that the decision was “mutual.”

The arrests, at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce streets in Philadelphia, sparked outrage and questions of racial bias after video of the encounter was posted to social media.

Photos posted to social media appeared to show the store closed Monday after about two dozen protesters stood by the coffee shop’s counter, chanting “Starbucks coffee is anti-black,” according to The Associated Press.

More than 100 people protested outside the shop Sunday, calling for the manager’s dismissal.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized for the incident in a statement Saturday and pledged to investigate. He said Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he plans to meet with Philadelphia’s mayor and police. He said he also hopes to meet with the two men who were arrested, who have not been identified.

“Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling,” Johnson said Saturday.

Police Commissioner Richard Ross said Saturday that employees told officers the two men arrested Thursday were asked to leave after they tried to use the Starbucks’ bathroom without making a purchase first. The men were not charged.

Starbucks CEO meets with 2 black men arrested in Philadelphia store

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson met Monday with two black men who were arrested after an employee at one of the company’s Philadelphia locations called 911 to say they were trespassing, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

A Starbucks spokesperson told CNN that Johnson apologized to the men, who were arrested Thursday at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce streets. The spokesperson declined to elaborate on what took place during the meeting.

Police arrested the men after employees said they were denied the use of the store’s bathroom and refused to leave, police Commissioner Richard Ross said Saturday. The incident raised questions of racial bias after video of the encounter was posted to social media.

>> Related: Video showing arrest of two black men at Starbucks sparks outrage

Johnson apologized for the incident in a statement Saturday and pledged to investigate. He said Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that hoped to meet with the men, who have not been identified.

"I'd like to have a dialogue with them so that I can ensure that we have opportunity to really understand the situation and show some compassion and empathy for the experience they went through," Johnson said. "Finally, as we're working to solve this, I'd like to invite them to join me in finding a constructive way to solve this issue."

A Starbucks spokesperson told CNN on Monday that the men had agreed to meet with Johnson.

>> Related: Starbucks' CEO wants to apologize 'face-to-face' to 2 black men arrested at Philly store

About two dozen people protested at the Starbucks location Monday morning, standing by the counter and chanting “Starbucks coffee is anti-black,” according to The Associated Press. More than 100 people protested outside the shop Sunday, calling for the manager’s dismissal.

>> Related: Starbucks manager leaves company after controversial arrest of 2 black men

The manager, who was not identified, has left the company, officials said Monday. A company spokeswoman told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the decision was “mutual.”

Starbucks closing over 8,000 stores for racial-bias training after controversial arrest

More than 8,000 Starbucks stores will be closed nationwide next month for a one-day training aimed at educating employees about racial bias.

The training was announced after two black men were arrested last week at a Philadelphia Starbucks, raising questions of racial bias and sparking criticism at the store and online.

>> Read more trending news

Company officials said more than 8,000 company-owned Starbucks locations will be closed on the afternoon of May 29 for racial-bias training. Nearly 175,000 employees across the country will receive the training, which will become a regular part of the company’s onboarding process, Starbucks officials said.

Two black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia last week after an employee called 911 to say the men were trespassing.

>> Related: Starbucks CEO meets with 2 black men arrested in Philadelphia store

Employees told officers the men were denied the use of the coffee shop’s bathroom and refused to leave, police Commissioner Richard Ross said Saturday.

The men were not charged.

The incident gained national attention after video of the arrests appeared on social media.

>> Related: Video showing arrest of two black men at Starbucks sparks outrage

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized to the men in a private meeting with them Monday, a Starbucks spokesperson told CNN. The spokesperson declined to elaborate on what took place during the meeting.

Johnson apologized for the incident in a statement Saturday and pledged to investigate. He said Tuesday that the planned racial-bias training “is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local community.”

>> Related: Starbucks manager leaves company after controversial arrest of 2 black men

“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” he said.

Several national and local experts will help to form the curriculum for the training, Starbucks officials said, including NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Company officials said experts will also monitor and review whether the training is effective.

There are more than 28,000 Starbucks stores in 77 countries.

Starbucks founder Howard Schultz speaks for first time since arrest of 2 black men

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Starbucks founder Howard Schultz speaks for first time since arrest of 2 black men

Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz publicly apologized on television Wednesday morning for the arrest of two black men at one their stores.

>> Read more trending news

The arrest caused an uproar that led to the company’s decision to close its more than 8,000 U.S. stores for an afternoon of racial bias training for employees.

"I'm embarrassed, ashamed. I think what occurred is reprehensible at every level. I take it personally, and we're committed to making it right. The announcement we made yesterday to do significant training is just the beginning,” Schultz told “CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King.

The incident happened last Thursday when a manager at a Philadelphia Starbucks called 911 on two black men who were waiting for a friend.

The manager said the men asked to use the bathroom, didn't buy anything and refused to leave.

They were arrested but later released without charges.

On “CBS This Morning,” Schultz was asked about the Starbucks manager who called police.

“I spent time yesterday with the white manager who made the call,” said Schultz.

He said though the woman is no longer with the company, he wants her to sit down with the two young men and have a conversation.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has already met face to face with the two men involved in the incident.

King asked Schultz about the estimated loss of revenue for the company for the planned partial closure next month.

"It will cost millions of dollars, but I’ve always viewed this not as an expense but an investment in our company,” Schultz said.

Philadelphia Starbucks arrest: Men say manager called 911 minutes after they arrived

Two black men arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks last week after the coffee shop’s manager called 911 to report them for trespassing spoke publicly for the first time Thursday.

>> Read more trending news

Police detained the men after Starbucks employees said the pair was denied the use of the store’s bathroom and refused to leave, police Commissioner Richard Ross said.

>> Related: Video showing arrest of two black men at Starbucks sparks outrage

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that they were arrested while waiting to meet with a potential business partner at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce streets. They said they arrived 10 minutes early for their scheduled 4:45 p.m. meeting. A manager called 911 to report that the men were refusing to leave at 4:37 p.m., according to “Good Morning America.”

Robinson said he didn’t believe officers were at the coffee shop for him and Nelson when he first spotted them last week. Nelson said it became apparent when the officers asked them to leave.

>> Related: Starbucks manager leaves company after controversial arrest of 2 black men

“There was no question of, you know, was there a problem here between you guys and a manager? You know, what happened?” Nelson told “Good Morning America.”

The men said they were not read their Miranda rights before they were handcuffed and put in the back of a police car. A bystander recorded footage of the arrests that was later posted on social media, sparking criticism and raising questions of racial bias.

>> Related: Starbucks closing over 8,000 stores for racial-bias training after controversial arrest

“This is something that has been going on for years and everyone’s blind to it, but they know what’s going on,” Nelson said. “It’s not just a black people thing, this is a people thing. And that’s exactly what we want to see out of this … true change.”

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized to the men in a private meeting with them Monday, a Starbucks spokesperson told CNN. The spokesperson declined to elaborate on what took place during the meeting.

Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz apologized Wednesday morning for the incident in an appearance on “CBS This Morning.”

>> Related: Starbucks founder Howard Schultz speaks for first time since arrest of 2 black men

Johnson apologized for the incident in a statement Saturday and pledged to investigate. 

More than 8,000 Starbucks stores will be closed nationwide May 29 for a one-day training aimed at educating employees about racial bias. Company officials said nearly 175,000 employees across the country will receive the training, which will become a regular part of the company’s onboarding process.

>> Related: Starbucks CEO meets with 2 black men arrested in Philadelphia store

Johnson said Tuesday that the planned racial-bias training “is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local community.”

“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” he said.

Black men arrested at Starbucks settle for $1 and $200K youth program

The two black men arrested last month at a Philadelphia Starbucks have reached a settlement with the city. The men will receive a symbolic $1 each, and city officials have promised to create a $200,000 entrepreneur program for local high school students. 

>> Read more trending news

Mayor Jim Kenney and the men’s lawyer announced the news Wednesday to The Associated Press.

“We thought long and hard about it and we feel like this is the best way to see that change that we want to see,” said Donte Robinson, one of the men who was arrested. “It’s not a right-now thing that’s good for right now, but I feel like we will see the true change over time.”

>> Related: Starbucks CEO meets with 2 black men arrested in Philadelphia store

Police detained Robinson and Rashon Nelson on April 12 after a manager at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce streets called 911 to report that the men were trespassing. Employees told authorities that the men were denied the use of the store’s bathroom and refused to leave.

Nelson and Robinson told ABC’s “Good Morning America” last month that they were arrested while waiting to meet with a potential business partner at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce streets. They said they arrived 10 minutes early for their scheduled 4:45 p.m. meeting. A manager called 911 to report that the men were refusing to leave at 4:37 p.m., according to “Good Morning America.”

>> Related: Philadelphia Starbucks arrest: Men say manager called 911 minutes after they arrived

The incident, which gained national attention after video of the arrests appeared on social media, raised questions of racial bias and sparked criticism of Starbucks.

Amid the national outrage, #BoycottStarbucks became a trending topic online as many customers vowed to no longer support the brand. Additionally, Starbucks officials issued an apology and its CEO, Kevin Johnson, met with Nelson and Robinson. 

Officials said the corporation would close all of its stores the afternoon of May 29 so all employees can undergo racial bias education. The sessions will be led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and other leaders.

>> Related: Starbucks closing over 8,000 stores for racial-bias training after controversial arrest

“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” Johnson previously said in a statement. “Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

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