Black Men Arrested at Philly Starbucks Settle for $1 Each and Establishment of $200,000 Program for Young Entrepreneurs

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson
Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson

Two black men arrested for sitting at a Philadelphia Starbucks without ordering anything have settled with the city for a symbolic $1 each and a promise from officials to set up a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs.

The men’s lawyer and Mayor Jim Kenney outlined the agreement to The Associated Press.

The arrest of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson on April 12 touched off a furor around the U.S. over racial profiling.

They were led away in handcuffs after the manager called the police, saying the men refused to buy anything or leave. After spending hours in jail, they were released and no charges were filed.

The men said they were waiting for a business meeting about a potential real estate deal.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson came to Philadelphia to personally apologize. He also announced Starbucks stores would close May 29 for training on bias.

“I want to thank Donte and Rashon for their willingness to reconcile,” Johnson said in a statement. “I welcome the opportunity to begin a relationship with them to share learnings and experiences. And Starbucks will continue to take actions that stem from this incident to repair and reaffirm our values and vision for the kind of company we want to be.”

As part of their agreement with the coffee chain, Robinson and Nelson will work with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as part of Starbucks’ diversity and equity efforts.

“We all recognize the importance of communication about differences and solutions, and that we will be measured by our action not words,” they said in a joint statement.

In addition the two men have been offer the opportunity to complete their undergraduate degrees through Starbucks’ college achievement program, a fully reimbursed education through Arizona State University.

SOURCE: The Associated Press