But the men had simply been waiting for a friend to show up when they were handcuffed and taken in by police.
When police arrived, two Starbucks employees told them two men had asked to use the restroom but were told they couldn't because they hadn't purchased anything.
The incident is said to have started after one of the men sought to use the bathroom having not ordered. "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".
Meanwhile, the video has sparked major reaction on social media - with many calling for a Starbucks boycott. "Creating an environment that is both safe and welcoming for everyone is paramount for every store". Several witnesses were wondering what the men did that led to the arrest. Her clients, who declined to be identified, were released eight hours later because the district attorney found no evidence of a crime, she said, adding the Starbucks manager was white.
Video footage of the incident drew criticism after being widely shared online. He said he has asked the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations to examine the company's policies and procedures.
"Most importantly, I hope to meet personally with the two men who were arrested to offer a face-to-face apology", Johnson wrote in his statement. Police replied that the men were "trespassing", which Yaffe disputed. But why? What were they doing that necessitated that they leave?
"That's absolutely discrimination", Mr. Yaffe said in the video.
Eagles' Daryl Worley tased, arrested in Philly
A source close to the situation confirmed an NFL Network report, which said Worley became combative with police. Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Daryl Worley may be in some trouble with the league, and the law.
In a video posted to Twitter, other customers complained that two men hadn't done anything wrong. These guys never raised their voices.
"So they are at least consistent in their policy", he said.
"If you think about it logically, that if a business calls and they say that someone is here that I no longer wish to be in my business, they (the officers) now have a legal obligation to carry out their duties".
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".
"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. Like all retail establishments in our city, Starbucks should be a place where everyone is treated the same, no matter the color of their skin".
Philadelphia's police commissioner is defending the arrest. "And so, they then asked these two males to leave, these two males refused to leave, and the police were called". Their friend arrived just as they were being taken out in handcuffs. The attempt on social media and by Philly's officials at race-baiting comes close to being accurately summed up by a bystander in the video, when she says of the two trespassers "They didn't do anything".
Ross said he is aware of implicit bias and his force provides training, but he did not say whether he believed it applied in this case. If you are reading this story on another publication, it was illegally stolen and republished in violation of USA & global trademark and copyright law. "We are committed to fair and unbiased policing, and anything less than that will not be tolerated in this department".