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Starbucks facing backlash over arrest of two black men at Philadelphia location

PHILADELPHIA — About two dozen chanting protesters have entered a Philadelphia Starbucks where two black men were arrested after store employees called 911 to say they were trespassing.

The protesters moved to the front counter shortly after 7 a.m. Monday and chanted "Starbucks coffee is anti-black" and "We are gonna shut you down."

Over the weekend, demonstrators called for the firing of the employee who contacted police, who arrested the men on Thursday.

Officials have said police officers were told the men had asked to use the store's restroom but were denied because they hadn't bought anything and they refused to leave.

Police haven't released the names of the men who were arrested and later released after the district attorney's office said there was lack of evidence that a crime had been committed.

On Monday's "Good Morning America," on ABC, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson reiterated that the arrests were "reprehensible" and said he hoped to meet with the men to discuss "a constructive solution."

Johnson has apologized repeatedly since news of the arrests went viral last week, but he declined to say whether the manager would face discipline, declining to "point blame."

"My responsibility is to look not only at that individual but to look more broadly at the circumstances that set that up, to ensure that this never happens again," he said.

Johnson said staff would get more training on "unconscious bias."

"I've been very focused on understanding what guidelines and what training ever let this happen," he said. "What happened was wrong, and we will fix it."

Johnson had already posted apologies on the company's website. He said the company wanted to "express our deepest apologies to the two men who were arrested with a goal of doing whatever we can to make things right." He was in Philadelphia on Monday when he conducted the interview on "Good Morning America."

"Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling," he said in the blog post.

The two men have agreed to meet with Johnson. The timing of the meeting has not been set, according to a Starbucks spokesperson. The company said it hopes the meeting will occur this week while Johnson is in Philadelphia addressing the controversy over their arrests.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issued his own statement saying the incident "appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018." He added that the apology from Starbucks "is not enough" and that he would ask the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations to examine the firm's policies and procedures and whether there should be bias training for its employees.

Prosecutors in Philadelphia have announced they will not pursue charges against the men. Police Commissioner Richard Ross defended his officers' actions in a statement on Facebook, saying that the officers were called to respond to a trespassing complaint and that they behaved properly and followed procedure.