Videos of 2 black men arrested at Philadelphia Starbucks draw outrage

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Saturday, April 14, 2018
Police investigation launched after arrest in Philly Starbucks goes viral
Both police and Starbucks are investigating after video of an arrest at a Philadelphia Starbuck went viral.

PHILADELPHIA -- Starbucks has issued an apology after an incident that led to the arrest of two men at a Philadelphia location earlier this week.

The company released the following statement Saturday:

"We apologize to the two individuals and our customers and are disappointed this led to an arrest. 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."

Video of the arrest, which took place on Thursday, was posted to Twitter. It now has more than 3.4 million views and has prompted an internal investigation by the Philadelphia Police Department.

The video's caption reads: "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."

In the video, the friend who was meeting them is heard asking officers what's going on.

"What did they get called for?" he asks. "Because there are two black guys sitting here meeting me? Tell me, what did they do?"

WATCH: Philadelphia police commissioner's statement on Starbucks arrests

Watch Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross's full statement on the incident at a Philadelphia Starbucks, delivered via Facebook on April 14, 2018.

Other customers then chime in.

"They didn't do anything, I saw the entire thing," a person off-camera says.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports another clip posted on YouTube shows police talking to the men for several minutes before handcuffing them and escorting them out of the Center City establishment.

Starbucks responded to the videos, saying "we're reviewing the incident with our partners, law enforcement and customers to determine what took place and led to this unfortunate result."

Philadelphia police also tweeted that they were aware of the incident at the location at Spruce and South 18th streets and they were conducting an internal investigation.

Saturday afternoon Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross delivered a statement, which was streamed live on the department's Facebook page.

Ross said the department's internal investigation revealed the officers who responded to the scene acted appropriately, and in accordance with police guidelines.

"On three different occasions the officers asked the males to leave, politely," Ross said, "because they were being asked to leave by employees, because they were trespassing. Instead, the males continued to refuse.... They told the officers they were not leaving."

At that point the men were arrested. After they arrived at the police station to be processed, Ross said, authorities were informed that Starbucks did not want to press charges against the men, and so they were released.

Ross added, "As an African-American male, I am very aware of implicit bias. We are committed to fair and unbiased policing, and anything less than that will not be tolerated in this department."

According to the district attorney's office, charges were declined due to a lack of evidence and the men were released from police custody.