Black men arrested in US coffee shop to meet company CEO

Africanews is learning that the two black men arrested at a coffee shop in the United States last week have agreed to meet with Starbucks CEO, Kevin Johnson.

According to a Starbucks spokesperson, the timing of the meeting has yet to be set. The company said it hopes the meeting will come off this week while Johnson was addressing the backlash the arrest has generated.

Speaking on “Good Morning America,“a popular breakfast show in the United States, Johnson said he hopes to meet with the two men in person to apologize face to face.

“I’d like to have a dialogue with them so that I can ensure that we have opportunity to really understand the situation and show some compassion and empathy for the experience they went through,” he said. “Finally as we’re working to solve this, I’d like to invite them to join me in finding a constructive way to solve this issue”, Johnson said.

He called the arrests “reprehensible” and promised to take action so it doesn’t happen again.

An incident captured on widely circulated social media video this week showed police officers arresting two black men as they sat in a Starbucks coffee shop in Philadelphia, United States.

Philadelphia’s police commissioner has defended the arrest, saying his officers had to act after Starbucks employees told them the pair was trespassing.

Cellphone footage that onlookers filmed of Thursday’s April 12 incident shows the two men sitting quietly at a table and talking for several minutes to police officers who have apparently been called to the store. They are then put in handcuffs and marched out.

Other customers, including a middle-aged white man, try to intervene. The white man tells police the pair had done nothing wrong, that they are allowed to be there, and that the officers are only trying to remove them because they are black, which an officer denies.