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Settlement for Men Arrested at Starbucks Pledges $200,000 to Philadelphia Youth Entrepreneurship Program

The two black men arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks on April 12 have reached a settlement with the city for a symbolic one dollar each.

Their settlement, announced Wednesday, also included a pledge from city officials that $200,000 would be contributed to the funding of a youth entrepreneurship program for Philadelphia public high school students.

“I am pleased to have resolved the potential claims against the city in this productive manner,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were taken to jail after a Starbucks store manager called 911, reporting that the men were refusing to leave. The call was placed within 15 minutes of the time that Nelson and Robinson entered the store and sat down, waiting for a third individual to conduct a business meeting.

The men were released from jail after the Starbucks management decided they would not be pressing charges. However, video of the arrest was captured and shared online, sparking criticisms of the racial profiling that occurred.

Following the media coverage of these arrests, community members demonstrated at the storefront and voiced their dissent on social media, where #BoycottStarbucks went viral.

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Councilman Kenyatta Johnson held a press conference on Monday, April 16, 2018, regarding the arrests of African-American men at the Starbucks on 18th and Spruce St.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross defended the actions of his officers, but eventually publicly apologized to Nelson and Robinson.

“I want young men to not be traumatized by this, but instead motivated and inspired,” Robinson said in a Good Morning America interview.

To reconcile the company’s errors, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson flew to meet with the men in person, where attorney Stuart Cohen said they consulted with a retired federal judge for mediation.

A separate settlement reached between Nelson, Robinson and Johnson at this mediation includes a confidential financial sum.

Nelson and Robinson were also offered a full tuition scholarship to Arizona State University for undergraduate degrees through the ASU/Starbucks’ College Achievement Plan.

On May 29, more than 8,000 store locations will close to conduct a nationwide employee training on the issue of unconscious racial bias.


“We appreciate the opportunity to have meaningful discussions with Kevin Johnson and the group around the table to address hard issues,” Nelson and Robinson said jointly in the settlement announcement, also released Wednesday. “We all recognize the importance of communication about differences and solutions, and that we will be measured by our actions not words.”


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