The two men arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks last month have settled with the city for a symbolic $1 each, accompanied with a pledge of $200,000 to support young entrepreneurs from Philly public high schools, according to the the Associated Press.
Footage of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson being arrested went viral last month. The video showed the men being arrested for waiting to have a business meeting in Starbucks. One had asked to use the restroom, but was denied access after the manager informed him it was for paying customers only. Soon after, Nelson and Robinson were arrested for trespassing, even though the manager never asked them to leave. "I was thinking, they can't be here for us," Robinson said of the police during an interview with Good Morning America. "It didn't really hit me what was going on, that it was real, till I was being double-locked with my hands behind my back."
The news sparked national outrage and protests over the racist arrests, and prompted apologetic statements from both Starbucks and the Philadelphia Police Department. “I am pleased to have resolved the potential claims against the city in this productive manner,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney told the AP. “This was an incident that evoked a lot of pain in our city and put us under a national spotlight for unwanted reasons.”
After their arrests, Nelson and Robinson were put in jail and released several hours later with no charges. "I want to make sure that this situation doesn't happen again," Robinson said. "What I want is for a young man, young men, to not be traumatized by this and instead motivated, inspired."
The two chose not to file a civil suit against the company. They instead entered a mediation with Starbucks and the city. “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,” Robinson told the AP of the settlement. “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.”
In response to the outrage and protests, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson went to Philadelphia to apologize to the men personally and announced his plan to close more than 8,000 Starbucks stores in the U.S. on the afternoon of May 29 for unconscious-bias training.