Black men ar­rested at Star­bucks reach 2 set­tle­ments

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - NATIONAL REPORT - By Er­rin Haines Whack

PHILADELPHIA >> Two black men ar­rested for sit­ting at a Philadelphia Star­bucks with­out or­der­ing any­thing set­tled with the world’s big­gest cof­fee-shop chain Wed­nes­day for an undis­closed sum and an of­fer of a free col­lege ed­u­ca­tion.

Separately, they reached a deal with the city for a sym­bolic $1 each and a prom­ise from of­fi­cials to set up a $200,000 pro­gram for young en­trepreneurs.

The men por­trayed the twin set­tle­ments as an ef­fort to make sure some­thing pos­i­tive came out of the April 12 in­ci­dent, which touched off a furor around the U.S. over racial pro­fil­ing.

“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,” said Donte Robin­son, one of those ar­rested. “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.”

Busi­ness part­ners Robin­son and Rashon Nel­son, both 23, were led away in hand­cuffs and ac­cused of tres­pass­ing last month af­ter the man­ager of a Star­bucks in the city’s well-to-do Rit­ten­house Square neigh­bor­hood called po­lice, say­ing the men re­fused to buy any­thing or leave. Af­ter spend­ing hours in jail, they were re­leased and no charges were filed.

The men said they were there wait­ing for a meet­ing with a third man about a po­ten­tial real es­tate op­por­tu­nity.

The in­ci­dent proved a ma­jor em­bar­rass­ment for Star­bucks, which has long pro­jected an im­age as a so­cially con­scious com­pany.

On Wed­nes­day, Star­bucks an­nounced it reached a fi­nan­cial set­tle­ment with the men. The amount was not dis­closed.

The com­pany said they will also be given the op­por­tu­nity to com­plete their bach­e­lor’s de­grees, their tu­ition fully cov­ered, through a Star­bucks part­ner­ship with Ari­zona State Univer­sity.

Dur­ing the up­roar, Star­bucks CEO Kevin John­son came to Philadelphia to apol­o­gize to the men. He also an­nounced that more than 8,000 Star­bucks stores in the U.S. would close on the af­ter­noon of May 29 so nearly 175,000 em­ploy­ees can get train­ing in un­con­scious bias.

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