After two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks after being accused of trespassing, the CEO of the international coffee company, Kevin Johnson, has announced he will shut down more than 8,000 U.S. locations to conduct racial bias training with the company’s employees.
Rashon Nelson, one of the two men who were arrested, said that he had asked to use the restroom but was denied because he hadn’t purchased anything.
When he returned to his seat without purchasing anything, the manager called the police and reported that the men were refusing to leave.
“Our practices and training led to a bad outcome — the basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong,”
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross has also apologized to Nelson and his companion, Donte Robinson, for the role he played in escalating the situation.
“I want to acknowledge their pain and the pain of so many others, and commit our city to healing it together over the coming days, weeks and months,”
The two African-American men were awaiting the arrival of a third person to conduct a business meeting. The third man arrived as Robinson and Nelson were being arrested.
“The optics are not lost on me. It is obvious the issue of race is indicative of a larger problem in our society, and I should not at all be the person that is a party to making anything worse relative to race relations. Shame on me if in any way I have done that. … I have to do better.” – Richard Ross, Philadelphia police commissioner
The company plans to carry out the training for 175,000 employees on the afternoon of May 29.
Check out Shoppe Black’s list of 47 Black Owned Coffee and Tea Businesses That Are Great Alternatives to Starbucks.