Philadelphia's top cop apologizes to black men arrested at Starbucks


Starbucks has said it will close all 8,000 of its U.S. stores for the afternoon of 29 May while it conducts what it called "racial bias training" in light of the recent arrest of two black men who were waiting in one the coffee giant's Philadelphia locations. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. defended the officers in a video posted Saturday, saying he believed the officers "did absolutely nothing wrong".

Robinson said the incident was more about "what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong".

This is a developing story.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Thursday and described their arrest. "You never know what's going to happen".

Nelson said he asked to use the restroom as soon as they walked in, and was told by the manager that it was for paying customers only. "So what I want is for a young man or young men to not be traumatized by this, and instead motivated and inspired", Robinson continued. "I can appreciate, in light of the Starbucks policy, and how well it is known to many, why these two men were appalled when they were asked to leave".

Last Thursday, two African-American men waited in a Philadelphia-area Starbucks for a business meeting to begin.

Starbucks has apologized to the men and will be training all of its employees on how to avoid discriminating against customers.

ABC's Robin Roberts asked the men how they would respond to those who say they violated Starbucks policy by not buying anything.

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A witness recorded the ensuing arrest, and the video has gone viral on social media over the past week. They were released after midnight when the district attorney declined to prosecute them for trespassing. Nelson said. "You can either be ignorant or you can show some type of sophistication and act like you have class".

The arrests have been a "stepping stone to really stand up and show your greatness and that you are not judged by the color of your skin", Nelson said.

"We applaud Starbucks CEO, Kevin Johnson, for closing more than 8,000 USA stores to provide unconscious-bias training to employees", said Angeles Valenciano, CEO at the National Diversity Council. Darion Robinson, a volunteer and community engagement co-ordinator at City Garden Montessori School in St. Louis, said he took a three-day anti-bias training course when he started in July and felt that it helped build a sense of community. Starbucks has not said under what circumstances she left.

"You go from being someone who's just trying to be an entrepreneur, having your own dreams and aspirations, and then this happens", Nelson said. How else can we explain why 14-year-old Brennan Walker who missed his bus on his way to school would be shot at by a homeowner just outside Detroit? "You can and should expect more from us".

Johnson has apologized publicly for the incident and called it "reprehensible" and the staffer who called the police no longer works for the company.

Starbucks at UC San Diego will now participate in the company's nationwide store shutdown on May 29 for racial bias trainings, Sharon Van Bruggen, director of University Centers, announced late Wednesday afternoon.

Ross wasn't discussing the policy yet, but said it will be pushed out at a later date.

CEO Johnson and Starbucks founder, Howard Schultz, met with community leaders from Philadelphia and with the church.