Philadelphia To Launch Youth Program In Settlement With Starbucks Arrestees

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson will each take a symbolic $1.

Philadelphia has reached a settlement with Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson ― the two black men arrested in a city Starbucks last month ― agreeing to pay them each a symbolic $1 and pledging $200,000 toward launching a program for young entrepreneurs.

Wednesday’s settlement was reportedly rooted in a mutual desire to create something positive out of the April 12 event, which set off national outrage and anti-racism protests across Philadelphia.

“I am pleased to have resolved the potential claims against the City in this productive manner,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney wrote in a statement to HuffPost. “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.” 

Officers handcuffed and detained Nelson and Robinson, both 23, after a Starbucks manager in the city’s upscale Rittenhouse Square neighborhood complained to police that they had refused to make a purchase or leave.

The men’s arrests were shared widely on social media, and they said they had been waiting for another man at the coffee shop for a business meeting about a real estate opportunity. Nelson and Robinson said they had only been in the Starbucks for two minutes when the manager called 911.

Their lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

The pair approached Kenney’s office about creating the $200,000 grant and will now serve on a committee to help establish the grant and award it, NBC News reported. The city’s finance department will create a budget to fund the grant and a curriculum that teaches public high school students about owning their own businesses. 

Starbucks is still planning to close more than 8,000 of its store locations on May 29 so employees can receive racial bias education.

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