The arrest of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson at a Philadelphia Starbucks on April 12 incited national outrage. Many felt that it was a case of racial profiling, which provoked protesters to occupy that store and many around the country to talk about boycotting the coffee franchise.
After initially defending the actions of the arresting officers, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross issued an apology for the way police responded to Starbucks’ call.
Wednesday, the two men settled with the City of Philadelphia for a symbolic $1 and a promise that city leaders would set up a $200,000 fund for young entrepreneurs. They say they just wanted something positive to come from the whole conflict. Their arrest records will also be expunged.
“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 Chicago Tribune. “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.”
The two men were arrested after a Starbucks manager found them suspicious for sitting in the coffee shop without ordering anything. They were waiting for a friend to join them before they ordered. Nevertheless, the men were taken away for “trespassing.”
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson later flew to Philadelphia to apologize for the incident. He also announced that the company will close all 8,000 U.S. stores on the afternoon of May 29 for racial bias training.
is managing editor at RELEVANT Media Group. He holds a B.A. in Practical Theology and an M.A. in Theology with an emphasis in Biblical Languages. He's passionate about music, faith, racial justice, and social change. You can find him on Twitter @andrehenry, and more of his writing at http://andrerhenry.com