Philly to Pay Black Men Arrested at Starbucks $1 Each

They secured promise from officials to set up a $200K program for young entrepreneurs
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 2, 2018 12:23 PM CDT
Updated May 2, 2018 2:46 PM CDT
Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Have Settled With Philadelphia
In this April 18, 2018, file photo, Rashon Nelson, left, and Donte Robinson, right, both 23, pose for a portrait following an interview.   (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma, File)

Two black men arrested for sitting at a Philadelphia Starbucks without ordering anything settled with the city Wednesday for a symbolic $1 each and a promise from officials to set up a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs. And Starbucks agreed to pay for a college education for them, the AP reports. The men and their lawyer said the agreement with the city was an effort to make sure something positive came out of the incident. "We thought long and hard about it, and we feel like this is the best way to see that change that we want to see," said Donte Robinson, one of those arrested. "It's not a right-now thing that's good for right now, but I feel like we will see the true change over time." Later in the day, Starbucks announced it reached a financial settlement with the men. The amount was not disclosed, but the chain said Robinson and Rashon Nelson will be given the opportunity to complete their undergraduate degrees through a Starbucks partnership with Arizona State University.

They will be able to earn their bachelor's degrees with their tuition fully covered, Starbucks said. Also, the two men will be given the opportunity to discuss their experience with former US Attorney General Eric Holder as part of the company's diversity efforts. The arrest of Robinson and Nelson on April 12 touched off a furor around the US over racial profiling. They were led away in handcuffs and accused of trespassing after the manager called police, saying the men refused to buy anything or leave; they said they were waiting for a third man to arrive for a business meeting. After spending hours in jail, they were released and no charges were filed. Their arrest records will be expunged as part of the deal. "I am pleased to have resolved the potential claims against the city in this productive manner," Mayor Jim Kenney said. "This was an incident that evoked a lot of pain in our city and put us under a national spotlight for unwanted reasons." The entrepreneur program will be for Philadelphia public high school students. (More Starbucks stories.)

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