Philadelphia Police Commissioner Apologizes for Starbucks Arrests

After defending his officers after the arrest of two men that refused to leave a Starbucks last Thursday and discussing the disrespect one of the men showed his officers, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross has now apologized to the two men and said that his comments made the situation worse and “failed miserably” in the messaging around the arrests.

Well, so much for our praise for Ross.

In a hastily arranged news conference at Police Headquarters, Ross said he was unaware that people sit inside Starbucks for hours. “I apologize,” he said in remarks intended for Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, the men arrested for sitting in the store without making a purchase.

“Shame on me” if I have done anything to perpetuate racism, Ross said, adding that no one had told him he should apologize.

Ross said a new policy will be announced on how the Police Department will respond to similar calls. One reason, he said, is  so that officers will not be manipulated by businesses. He said he was not sure if that happened in this instance.

The commissioner said the number of officers responding to the call was not excessive.

Ross said it was the wrong for him to have said in a Facebook Live video on Sunday that the “officers did not do anything wrong.” Still, he said they followed the law.

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