Police chief: Officers did nothing wrong in Starbucks arrest - KMOV.com

Police chief: Officers did nothing wrong in Starbucks arrest

Posted: Updated:
Videos posted online show officers handcuffing the men in the downtown establishment on Thursday. A white man in the video is heard saying he was meeting with the men and calls the arrest "ridiculous." (Credit: AP) Videos posted online show officers handcuffing the men in the downtown establishment on Thursday. A white man in the video is heard saying he was meeting with the men and calls the arrest "ridiculous." (Credit: AP)
Starbucks issued an apology after two black men were arrested for allegedly trespassing (Credit: Starbucks / Twitter) Starbucks issued an apology after two black men were arrested for allegedly trespassing (Credit: Starbucks / Twitter)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia's police commissioner on Saturday defended officers who arrested two black men at a Starbucks, prompting accusations of racism on social media and an apology from the company.

Videos posted online show officers handcuffing the men in the downtown establishment on Thursday. A white man in the video is heard saying he was meeting with the men and calls the arrest "ridiculous."

Commissioner Richard Ross said Starbucks employees called 911 to say the men were trespassing. He said officers were told that the men had come in and asked to use the restroom but were denied because they hadn't bought anything, as he said is company policy. He said they then refused to leave.

Ross, who is black, said police asked the men to leave three times but they refused, and they were then arrested but were later released after the company elected not to prosecute. He said the officers "did absolutely nothing wrong" and were professional in their conduct toward the individuals but "got the opposite back." He did not mention the person who said he was meeting with the men.

"As an African American male, I am very aware of implicit bias; we are committed to fair and unbiased policing," Ross said. But he added "If a business calls and they say that 'Someone is here that I no longer wish to be in my business' (officers) now have a legal obligation to carry out their duties and they did just that."

Starbucks posted an apology on Twitter Saturday, saying the company was "disappointed this led to an arrest" and was reviewing its policies.

"We take these matters seriously and clearly have more work to do when it comes to how we handle incidents in our store," the company said in a statement Saturday afternoon.

Ross said he doesn't patronize Starbucks but recalled an incident from a few years ago in which a uniformed sergeant was denied access to a Starbucks bathroom "so they are at least consistent in their policy."

Attorney Lauren Wimmer told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the men, who she did not identify, were commercial real estate professionals and were meeting with another man to discuss business. She identified herself as a friend of the man they were meeting with.

A spokesman for the district attorney's office said the two black men were released "because of lack of evidence" that a crime had been committed, but declined further comment, citing a police investigation.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Melania Trump makes surprise visit to border facility

    Melania Trump makes surprise visit to border facility

    Thursday, June 21 2018 12:16 PM EDT2018-06-21 16:16:52 GMT
    Melania Trump's 'I don't really care. Do U?' jacket was no mistakeMelania Trump's 'I don't really care. Do U?' jacket was no mistake
    First lady Melania Trump touched down in McAllen, Texas, Thursday making a publicly unannounced and hastily planned trip to get a first-hand look at the crisis affecting immigrant families at the US border.More >
    First lady Melania Trump touched down in McAllen, Texas, Thursday for making a publicly unannounced and hastily planned trip to get a firsthand look at the crisis affecting immigrant families at the US border.More >
  • Trump and Putin plan to meet in mid-July

    Trump and Putin plan to meet in mid-July

    Thursday, June 21 2018 7:21 AM EDT2018-06-21 11:21:39 GMT
    President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are planning to meet around the time of Trump's trip to the UK and the NATO summit in mid-July, according to two diplomatic sources familiar with the matter.. (File Photo)President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are planning to meet around the time of Trump's trip to the UK and the NATO summit in mid-July, according to two diplomatic sources familiar with the matter.. (File Photo)
    President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are planning to meet around the time of Trump's trip to the UK and the NATO summit in mid-July, according to two diplomatic sources familiar with the matter.More >
    President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are planning to meet around the time of Trump's trip to the UK and the NATO summit in mid-July, according to two diplomatic sources familiar with the matter.More >
  • Crowd gathers at LaGuardia Airport to support children believed to be separated from families

    Crowd gathers at LaGuardia Airport to support children believed to be separated from families

    Thursday, June 21 2018 1:41 AM EDT2018-06-21 05:41:20 GMT
    LaGuardia Immigration ProtestsLaGuardia Immigration Protests
    Dozens gathered Wednesday night at LaGuardia Airport to support separated immigrant children.More >
    Dozens gathered Wednesday night at LaGuardia Airport to support separated immigrant children.More >
Powered by Frankly