Protesters on Monday packed a Philadelphia Starbucks – the site where two black men were arrested after store employees called police to say they were trespassing, sparking a days-long controversy.
More than two dozen protesters crowded the store and chanted “Starbucks coffee is anti-black.”
“This is what systemic white supremacy looks like,” one protester said into a microphone.
A Starbucks regional manager told FOX29 Philadelphia the protesters could remain in the store as long as the demonstrations remained peaceful.
“No cop zone, no cop zone, they know better,” the protesters chanted. “No good cops in a racist system.”
Protesters were surrounded by uniformed and plain-clothed police officers.
Demonstrators over the weekend called for the firing of the employee who contacted the police and had the men arrested last week.
Police officers were told the men had asked to use the store’s bathroom but were detained because they hadn’t bought anything and they refused to leave.
On Sunday, Philadelphia Police Department Commissioner Richard Ross defended the officers for detaining the two men.
“The police did not just happen upon this event, they did not just walk into Starbucks to get a coffee,” he said in a Facebook video. “They were called there, for a service, and that service had to do with quelling a disturbance, a disturbance that had to do with trespassing.”
Ross said the officers “followed policy” and did what they were supposed to do. He said that his department makes sure that officers receive “implicit bias training.”
“I will say, that as an African-American male, I am very aware of implicit bias,” Ross said. “We are committed to fair and unbiased policing and anything less than that will not be tolerated in this department.”
Kevin Johnson, the CEO of Starbucks, said in a statement Saturday he’d like to personally apologize to the men, adding the company “stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling.”
Johnson said the company’s practices and training led to a “bad outcome,” and the reason for the call that brought police into the shop was incorrect.
“Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did,” said the statement. Johnson said videos of the arrest were “very hard to watch,” and the company was investigating.
Police didn’t release the names of the men who were arrested. The two men were released after the district attorney’s office said there wasn’t sufficient evidence a crime had been committed.
Fox News’ Travis Fedschun and the Associated Press contributed to this report.