Starbucks and two black men arrested in Philadelphia incident reach private settlement
Two black men arrested while waiting at a Philadelphia Starbucks store reached a settlement with the coffee chain and dropped legal claims against the city. Havovi Cooper reports.
Starbucks said Wednesday that it has reached a financial settlement with the two men arrested for trespassing in a racially-charged incident at one of the chain’s Philadelphia locations.
The Seattle-based chain declined to release terms of the settlement with Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, who were compensated for the store manager’s decision call police when they didn’t order food or drinks at the Starbucks in an upscale downtown neighborhood April 12.
They were waiting to meet a third person for a business meeting.
“I want to thank Donte and Rashon for their willingness to reconcile,” CEO Kevin 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.”
The attorney for Robinson and Nelson could not be immediately reached for comment.
The agreement finalized earlier this week also includes “continued listening and dialogue between the parties and specific action and opportunity” and and the opportunity for the two to complete their undergraduate degrees through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, a partnership with Arizona State University that enables Starbucks workers to earn their bachelor’s degrees with full tuition coverage, the company said.
Johnson had previously apologized to Robinson and Nelson.
Starbucks is closing its 8,000-plus company-owned U.S. stores and the corporate offices for the afternoon of May 29, so employees can undergo racial-bias training.
In addition, as part of the settlement, the two men will have a chance to share their thoughts with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, whose part of the team crafting the curriculum for that afternoon training session, Starbucks said.
Robinson and Nelson also settled with the city of Philadelphia for a symbolic $1 each and a pledge that the city will create a $200,000 program for public high-school students who aspire to be entrepreneurs.
The meeting the two men were at Starbucks to attend was about a real estate deal.
“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 Associated Press. “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 a statement, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said he was happy to resolve what happened “in this productive manner.”
“This was an incident that evoked a lot of pain in our city, pain that would’ve resurfaced over and over again in protracted litigation, which presents significant legal risks and high financial and emotional costs for everyone involved,” he said, adding that Nelson and Robinson “invited us to partner with them in an attempt to make something positive come of this.”
Police are investigating a hidden camera reportedly found hidden inside an Atlanta area restroom.
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