'We Want The Manager Fired': Protesters Call For Action, Starbucks CEO Apologies

Kimberly Adams
April 15, 2018 - 7:08 pm

Photo credit: Kimberly Adams

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Tempers were high Sunday as members of Black Lives Matter stormed the Center City Starbucks, where two black men were arrested last week, demanding answers.

"This is the people's rally," said Black Lives Matter organizer Asa Khalif. "Racism and racial profiling will not be tolerated."

On April 12, Philadelphia police say officers responded to a call from a Starbucks employee that said two men were trespassing and creating a disturbance inside the store.

Philadelphia police commissioner Richard Ross defended his officers Saturday, on Facebook, saying after repeated attempts of asking the men to leave failed the two men were placed under arrest and later released.

The arrest was captured on video by fellow patron and since gone viral and made national news.

Since then, Starbucks has released a public apology, but Khalif wasn't alone saying the apology was too late outside of the store Sunday.

"This is a racist space and it's not safe space for black and brown people," Khalif said. "We're here today to reclaim it."

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Dozens of people held signs calling for respect. Most of the protesters are bitter with Starbucks, and others angry with the protesters.

"You're an elitist, you know everything, you're never wrong," one man said.

As tempers grew, Khalif led the crowd inside the store and engaged with the chain's regional manager Camille Hymes.

Hymes defended the manager involved in the incident saying, "We put her in a position that did not allow her to be set up for success or those two men."

She followed up the defense of the manager saying she would like to personally apologize to the men involved.

"We would love to meet those two men and personally apologize," she said.

Khalif responded saying, "We want the manager fired period."

Black Lives Matter says they plan to remain at the store until that store manager is fired.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson released a follow up statement Sunday further apologizing to the men saying the company stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling.