PHILADELPHIA (CBSMiami) – The two men who were arrested for trespassing at a Philadelphia Starbucks have received an apology from the city’s Police Commissioner, who at first defended his officers’ handling of the incident.READ MORE: 'We Need To Take Action': Gov. DeSantis Vows Special Session To Ban Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates
Speaking at a press conference Thursday afternoon, Police Commissioner Richard Ross says he “failed miserably” in addressing the arrests. He said that the issue of race is not lost on him and that he shouldn’t be the person making things worse.
Ross explained that the police department did not have a policy for dealing with similar situations, but does now, and it will be released soon. He added that he didn’t know that Starbucks has a policy that allows people to frequent a location and stay there without making a purchase. He said it is reasonable to assume that the arresting officers did not know of the business’ company policy either. Ross says the officers were simply doing their job and trying to prevent anyone from being injured.
Rashon Nelson and his business partner Donte Robinson said they went to the Starbucks to meet Andrew Yaffe, a white local businessman, over a potential real estate opportunity. Three police officers showed up not long after. Nelson said they weren’t questioned but were told to leave immediately.READ MORE: FBI: Remains Found In Florida Park Are Brian Laundrie's
Yaffe showed up as the men were being handcuffed and could be seen in the video demanding an explanation for the officers’ actions. Nelson and Robinson did not resist arrest.
The men’s attorney, Stewart Cohen, said they were illegally profiled.
The arrests prompted protests at the Starbucks and a national boycott.MORE NEWS: CDC Panel Back Moderna And Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots
Kevin Johnson, CEO at Seattle-based Starbucks, went to Philadelphia to meet with the men. He called the arrests “reprehensible” and has ordered more than 8,000 of the company’s stores closed May 29 for training for nearly 175,000 employees on unconscious bias.