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Starbucks Arrests: Former CEO Howard Schultz Says Manager Might Have Not Called Cops If Men Were White

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said the manager of one of the company's shops in Philadelphia where two black men were arrested last year might not have called authorities if the two men had been white.

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The acknowledgement came Wednesday night at an event in the city where Schultz was confronted by the person who first shared the video of two black men getting arrested at the shop.

Philly Police Release 911 Calls In Arrest Of 2 Men At Starbucks 

Speaking during a stop on his book tour, Schultz — who is considering a possible 2020 presidential bid — says the Starbucks manager contacted police after she "felt a threat."

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But Melissa DePino, who first posted the video of the men being handcuffed and led out of the store by police, told the crowd Schultz wasn't describing the event correctly.

In 911 audio of the incident, which happened on April 12 at a Starbucks located at 18th and Spruce, an employee called police to say there were two men who were refusing to make a purchase or leave.

"I have two gentlemen in my cafe that are refusing to make a purchase or leave," the employee said to 911 dispatchers.

"A group of males are refusing to leave," one officer can be heard relaying back to dispatch.

One of the men, Rashon Nelson, said the incident started when he asked to use the bathroom. He says the manager told him he couldn't use the restroom because he wasn't a paying customer. He and his business partner, Donte Robinson, were then approached at their table and were asked if they needed help. The 23-year-old entrepreneurs declined, explaining they were just waiting for a business meeting.

A few minutes later, they noticed police officers walking in their direction.

Shortly after the incident made national headlines, Starbucks closed 8,000 U.S. stores for several hours for a racial-bias training for nearly 175,000 workers.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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