PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Philadelphia’s police commissioner is defending his officers’ decision to arrest two black men at a Starbucks that prompted social media users to call the incident “racist.” Videos posted online show officers handcuffing the men in the downtown establishment Thursday (April 12).
Commissioner Richard Ross said Starbucks employees called police to say the men were trespassing. He said they came in to use the restroom but were denied because they hadn’t bought anything.
Ross, who is black, said police asked the men to leave three times but they refused. They were arrested and released. Ross said his officers “did absolutely nothing wrong.”
There was no mention of the white man in the video who said he was meeting with the men. He called the arrest “ridiculous” on video.
“What did they do,” one man can be heard saying in the video. Another says, “They didn’t do anything, I saw the entire thing.”
Starbucks issued a statement Saturday (April 14) apologizing for the incident.
“We apologize to the two individuals and our customers and are disappointed this led to an arrest,” the statement said. “We take these matters seriously and clearly have more work to do when it comes to how we handle incidents in our stores.”