Published: Fri, April 20, 2018
Markets | By Terence Owen

The Two Men Arrested At A Starbucks Say They Feared The Police

The Two Men Arrested At A Starbucks Say They Feared The Police

Johnson also met with Philadelphia's mayor, the police commissioner and other community leaders. The store manager said no, because it was for paying customers only.

"I should have stated that the officials acted within the scope of what the law states, although perhaps not they didn't do anything erroneous", Ross stated in an information meeting.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were at a Starbucks in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square location waiting for a business colleague when they were arrested for trespassing.

The men, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America" that they wanted to use their arrests a week ago to ensure no one else would undergo a similar experience.

Nelson and Robinson have met with the CEO of Starbucks and are pushing for meaningful change.

Roberts asked Robinson about Starbucks' policy that restricts nonpaying customers from using the restroom or sitting in the store, as well as the fact that the police told him and Nelson to leave.

"And I just left it at that". Nelson and Robinson believe they were racially profiled by the store's manager, a white woman.

It reportedly took just two minutes between their arrival and her call for help. After the men refused, Ross said, that's when police made the arrest.

Nelson said he wondered if he'd make it home alive.

"Anytime I'm encountered by cops, I can honestly say it's a thought that runs through my mind", Nelson said.

"You go from being someone who's just trying to be an entrepreneur, having your own dreams and aspirations, and then this happens", Nelson said.

The AP reports that the men - who have been best friends since the fourth grade - had never been arrested before.

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The move will adversely affect all the southern states, with Tamil Nadu, estimated to lose at least Rs 40,000 crore per year. One person was rushed to the Erode Government hospital after he greeted PM Modi with an attempted immolation.

When news of what happened got out, people protested outside that Starbucks store and called for boycotts of the company.

Starbucks declined to press charges.

FULL INTERVIEW: "This is something that has been going on for years...everyone is blind to it".

"I want to make sure that this doesn't happen again", Robinson said. "I understand that rules are rules, but what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong".

Later that day, CEO Kevin Johnson issued a memo to employees that expressed "our deepest apologies", saying "Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling" and sharing that he planned to meet those affected in Philadelphia.

Starbucks declined to discuss the meeting, but said through a spokesperson that "we are grateful to have these opportunities to talk with and listen to civic and community leaders this week in Philadelphia".

But Ross, the police commissioner, initially said the arresting officers were just doing their job, acted professionally and "did absolutely nothing wrong", and added that Nelson and Robinson were disrespectful to them. "While this is not limited to Starbucks, we're committed to being a part of the solution".

Starbucks' decision to close all 8,000 company-owned stores for an afternoon to hold "racial-bias" training raises an important question for companies wrestling with how to respond to crises amid racial tension in an era of social media: Can something be a grand gesture that goes above and beyond what many companies would do - yet still not be enough?

The men's lawyer, Stewart Cohen, says a retired federal judge is overseeing mediation with Starbucks. "So what I want is for a young man or young men to not be traumatized by this, and instead motivated and inspired", Robinson continued. "This is a people thing".

The arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks demonstrates that racism in policing, and in daily life, is still an urgent problem in America.

Ross said his department has already completed a new policy to guide officers on how to deal with similar situations, noting that no such policy existed before "because it is almost impossible to have a policy for every criminal or any other violation".

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