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The CEO of Starbucks has apologised for an incident at one of the mammoth chain's Philadelphia cafes where two black men were arrested while waiting for a friend.

The original video that was shared on Twitter on Thursday evening has been liked almost 1 million times and has since gone viral.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson called the incident "reprehensible" and outlined steps the company would take to "help prevent such an occurrence from ever happening again".

The company "stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling", he added. Philadelphia's police commissioner said Starbucks employees called 911 to say the men were trespassing. The employee called the police when they refused.

Melissa DePino, who posted the video, wrote, "The police were called because these men hadn't ordered anything".

Attorney Lauren Wimmer, who is representing the men, said, "These guys were doing what people do every single day".

"We are reviewing our policies and will continue to engage with the community and the police department to try to ensure these types of situations never happen in any of our stores".

He said staff had told officers the two men wanted to use a bathroom in the coffee shop but were informed it was only for paying customers.

The two men were released later that evening around 2 am after prosecutors declined to arraign them, DePino tweeted.

The chief executive officer of coffee behemoth Starbucks wants to apologize in person to the Black men in person who were arrested for sitting inside the coffee shop in Philadelphia and did not cause a disturbance. And in case anyone thought Starbucks was singling out the two men, Ross recalled an incident from "probably a few years ago" of a sergeant visiting a Starbucks in full uniform who was also denied access to the restroom.

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In a statement released on Saturday, Mr Johnson expressed "our deepest apologies" to the two men involved in the incident and said Starbucks would do "whatever we can to make things right". Drummer Questlove of the group Roots tweeted a question: "Waiting in a Starbucks while black is a crime?"

The video, which has racked up millions of views since it was posted to Twitter on Thursday, shows Philadelphia police officers arresting two African-American men inside a Starbucks location. The Philadelphia mayor's office and Police Department have begun separate investigations.

Johnson said Starbucks' "practices and training led to the bad outcome" with the two men being arrested.

Starbucks does not have a companywide policy on asking members of the public to leave, said the company official.

"The video shot by customers is very hard to watch and the actions in it are not representative of our Starbucks mission and values".

Johnson added his apology, saying the company would review its policies and "further train our partners to better know when police assistance is warranted".

The police commissioner says the officers did nothing wrong and acted professionally at all times.

Ross, who is black, said he's sensitive to race-related incidents.

"I am heartbroken to see Philadelphia in the headlines for an incident that, at least based on what we know at this point, appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018", said Mayor Kenny. "They were professional in all of their dealings with these gentleman and instead they got the opposite back", he said.

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