The coffee shop chain has since apologized, and the Philadelphia Police Department is currently investigating.
@Starbucks 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. All the other white ppl are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing. pic.twitter.com/0U4Pzs55Ci— Melissa DePino (@missydepino) April 12, 2018
On Thursday, Philadelphia author Melissa DePino tweeted a video from the Starbucks, showing black men being cuffed by officers after an employee called police. The men did not order anything and were waiting for a friend to show up. Their friend arrived just as they were being taken out in handcuffs.
On Friday, Starbucks issued an apology, followed by a longer statement on Saturday.
We apologize to the two individuals and our customers for what took place at our Philadelphia store on Thursday. pic.twitter.com/suUsytXHks— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) April 14, 2018
"We apologize to the two individuals and our customers and are disappointed this led to an arrest," the statement reads. "We take these matters seriously and clearly have more work to do when it comes to how we handle incidents in our stores. We are reviewing our policies and will continue to engage with the community and the police department to try to ensure these types of situations never happen in any of our stores."
According to ABC11, Philadelphia police are also running an internal investigation into the incident. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said in a video statement that the two men were politely asked to leave three times before they were arrested.
"On three different occasions, the officers asked the males to leave, politely, because they were being asked to leave by employees, because they were trespassing," Ross said. "Instead, the males continued to refuse ... They told the officers they were not leaving."
After the men were taken to a nearby police station, Ross said they were told that Starbucks employees did not want to press charges and the men were released.
"As an African-American male, I am very aware of implicit bias," Ross said. "We are committed to fair and unbiased policing, and anything less than that will not be tolerated in this department."
"I am heartbroken to see Philadelphia in the headlines for an incident that — at least based on what we know at this point — appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018," Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement Saturday. "For many, Starbucks is not just a place to buy a cup of coffee, but a place to meet up with friends or family members, or to get some work done. Like all retail establishments in our city, Starbucks should be a place where everyone is treated the same, no matter the color of their skin."
DePino said the two men were not released until 1:30 a.m. Friday morning. She also tweeted pictures of people gathering outside the Starbucks Saturday morning to protest.
I just heard they were released at 130am last night. They are real estate brokers and were at Starbucks to meet their family friend. That’s all I have for now.— Melissa DePino (@missydepino) April 13, 2018
The protest is growing outside the @Starbucks. The woman on the right in the red shirt is 90 years old and told a story about her father who died when she was 9 as a result of racial profiling and police brutality. pic.twitter.com/DxQb5OYtSG— Melissa DePino (@missydepino) April 14, 2018
The situation also inspired thousands to tweet with the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks.