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Men Arrested at Starbucks Turn a Negative into a Positive, Settle for $200K for Non-Profit

05-03-2018
Starbucks
Starbucks

The two black men arrested for sitting at a Philadelphia Starbucks have settled with the city for a symbolic $1 each and a promise from city officials to set up a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson said the settlements are an effort to bring something positive out of the April 12th incident.

According to reports, the pair was meeting a man at the Starbucks over a real estate opportunity. 

One of them asked the manager to use the restroom but was denied the request because he did not buy anything. 

Nelson and Robinson were eventually asked to leave the location but refused and the employee called the police. 

Video of the incident shows the two men surrounded by police. 

One officer asked a man whether he is "with these gentlemen." The man, Andrew Yaffe, said he was and called the incident "ridiculous." 

"What did they get called for?" Yaffe, who is white, asked the police. "Because there are two black guys sitting here meeting me?"

The incident sparked outrage. 

The CEO of Starbucks, Kevin James, traveled to Philadelphia and personally apologized to the men. 

"By now, you may be aware of a disheartening situation in one of our Philadelphia-area stores this past Thursday, that led to a reprehensible outcome," CEO Kevin Johnson wrote in a statement. 

Johnson has also scheduled racial bias training on May 29th for 8,000 Starbucks stores. 

Nelson and Robinson have since agreed not to file a lawsuit after receiving a $1 payment and an agreement by the city to give $200,000 to start a non-profit youth entrepreneur program. 

"The fact of the young men taking $1 each and the rest going to a good charitable source shows their character and what they're all about and we will try to make this a teachable moment and move forward," Philadelphia mayor Jim Kennedy said. 

Starbucks also announced an agreement with Nelson and Robinson, which includes a confidential financial settlement, a continued dialogue on diversity with former Attorney General Eric Holder, and full paid tuition for the men to finish out their college degrees. 
    

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