On April 12th, two black men, who happen to be business partners, met up at a Starbucks establishment located in Philadelphia in a Rittenhouse Square neighborhood for a real estate meeting. They took their seats, although they hadn’t ordered yet, and waited for another man to arrive so that they could conduct their meeting as planned. Typical behavior for Starbucks visitors, right? As you probably already know, many individuals visit their local Starbucks when they are looking for a freshly brewed cup of coffee to enjoy while they work, relax, or meet up for business. Unfortunately for Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, things took a turn south when they wanted to use the restroom but were told that they were only to be used by paying customers.
The Starbucks employees then asked the men to leave. Naturally, they refused and that is when one of the employees took it upon themselves to call the police and report a trespassing complaint. But were they trespassing if they were simply waiting for a third person to arrive before they carried out their meeting? Perhaps they didn’t want to order until everyone had arrived? Neither the police nor the Starbucks employees suspected this was the case which is why police requested that the men leave three times. And because they wouldn’t, they were escorted out in handcuffs.
Shortly after being detained, the men were released as Starbucks made it clear that they did not want to press charges against them, according to CNN. But after being humiliated in public and the only individuals who were forced to leave an establishment where many go to “sit around,” they weren’t just going to walk away. And after the media learned of the incident, people became outraged that these two men were treated in the manner that they were.
Two Men Arrested in Starbucks Settle with Company for an Undisclosed Amount
After the incident, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson came to Philadelphia to personally apologize to them for the what they had to go through. The men also agreed to a settlement from Starbucks, although the Associated Press said the amount was not disclosed. They have also been given the opportunity to complete their bachelor’s degrees through an online program offered by the Arizona State University with their tuition fully covered on behalf of the company. The news source also highlighted that the men will be given the chance to “discuss their experience and share their recommendations for changes at Starbucks with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.”
Aside from the settlement reached with Starbucks, the men also reached a deal with the city where each would only receive $1, however, they stipulated that they wanted officials to set up a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs. The program will be used to “offer counseling and mentoring to entrepreneurs from Philadelphia high schools.” Their hope is that the program will help transform their community and create the types of opportunities that did not exist when they were younger.
It’s unfortunate when individuals are wrongfully arrested because of racial profiling or humiliated in front of the public for doing absolutely nothing wrong. Still, these incidents occur. And anyone who is a victim can take legal action to combat this behavior by hiring a personal injury lawyer or even a criminal defense attorney when they have been arrested for expressing their rights as an individual.