Protests Continue At Center City Starbucks After Police Arrest Two Black Men

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – Protesters stormed the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce Streets in Center City throughout the day Monday.

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This comes amid growing outrage after video went viral online of Philadelphia police officers arresting two black men inside the store on Thursday.

According to witnesses, managers called police on the two men because they did not order anything.

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On Thursday, a woman named Melissa DePino recorded the video of the incident.

It shows Philadelphia Police officers escorting those two black men out of the store in handcuffs. Customers can be heard telling the officers the men did nothing wrong.

On Twitter, DePino said the store called police because the men had not ordered anything and they were waiting on a friend. In a tweet, DePino says the other people inside that Starbucks, who were white, were wondering why the same thing never happens to them when they sit in Starbucks.

That video has since gone viral and has almost 10 million views as of Monday morning.

Protests erupted outside of the Starbucks over the weekend. 

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On Saturday, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross released a video on Facebook with the officers account of what happened.

He said a Starbucks employees called police for a trespassing complaint.

Ross said the Starbucks employees told officers the two men wanted to use the bathroom but workers told the men that it was only for paying customers.

Police said the Starbucks employees asked the two men to leave, but they refused.

When officers arrived, Ross said police asked the men to leave three times and the men refused.

He said that officers arrested the two men, but they were released shortly after wards because Starbucks did not want to press charges.

Ross defended the actions of his officers in his Facebook video.

"These officers did nothing wrong. They did the service they were called to do," he said. "If you think about it logically, if a business calls and says that someone is here that I no longer wish to be in my business, they have a legal obligation to carry out their duties and they did just that."

Starbucks' CEO, Kevin Johnson, released a statement. over the weekend.

He called the incident reprehensible.

 The statement also read in part, "…in the coming days, I will be joining our Regional Vice President, Camille Hymes, who is on the ground in Philadelphia, to speak with partners, customers and community leaders as well as law enforcement. most importantly, I hope to meet personally with the two men who were arrested to offer a face-to-face apology."

Johnson is expected to meet with the two men on Monday. He said his company is reviewing their policies to make sure a similar incident does not happen again.

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