'Starbucks has apologised to two black men arrested at a Philadelphia branch of the coffee chain in an incident that has led to accusations of racial profiling by the company and police.
Mobile phone videos captured the tense moment on Thursday afternoon when at least six Philadelphia Police Department officers stood over two seated black men, asking them to leave. A man named Andrew Yaffe arrives to tell police that the two men were waiting for him. The officer says that they were not complying and were being arrested for trespassing.
“Why would they be asked to leave?” Mr Yaffe says. “Does anybody else think this is ridiculous?” he asks people nearby. “It’s absolute discrimination,” Mr Yaffe adds. The two unidentified men are taken out in handcuffs soon after. They were released early on Friday with no charges filed.
One of the videos of the arrest rocketed across social media, with 4.5 million views by Saturday evening.
Lauren Wimmer, the attorney for the two men, told The Washington Post that her clients told a Starbucks employee that they were waiting for Mr Yaffe. Shortly after, a white female employee called the police, Ms Wimmer said.
Ms Wimmer said Mr Yaffe, who runs a real-estate development firm, said that he was there to meet the men to discuss business investment opportunities.
The two men, whom she declined to identify, were taken to a police station, fingerprinted and photographed. One officer suggested that they faced charges for “defiant trespassing”, Ms Wimmer said. They were held for nearly nine hours before they were released after prosecutors said they would not pursue charges.'
Read more: Starbucks apologises after staff call police to arrest two black men 'who didn't order anything'
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