Two black men arrested for sitting at a Philadelphia Starbucks without ordering anything settled with the city Wednesday for a symbolic $1 each and a promise from officials to set up a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs.
The men’s lawyer and Mayor Jim Kenney outlined the agreement to The Associated Press.
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“I am pleased to have resolved the potential claims against the city in this productive manner,” Kenney said. “This was an incident that evoked a lot of pain in our city and put us under a national spotlight for unwanted reasons.”
The arrest of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson on April 12 touched off a furor around the U.S. over racial profiling. They were led away in handcuffs after the manager 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 waiting at the coffee shop in the city’s well-to-do Rittenhouse Square neighborhood for a business meeting with a third man about a potential real estate opportunity.
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The mayor said Nelson and Robinson approached the city about working together to “make something positive come of this.” The entrepreneur program will be for Philadelphia public high school students.
“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 said. “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.”
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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.