The two brothers arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks have reached a settlement with the city, the mayor’s office announced on Wednesday. The arrests reportedly occurred after Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, both 23-years-old, entered the Starbucks and decided to sit and wait for a third party for a business meeting. The manager, who has since been let go, called the police within two minutes of the individuals entering the establishment.
The settlement amount is each receives $1 dollar apiece, as well as $200,000 to establish a nonprofit organization to assist young entrepreneurs in the city of Philadelphia.
The grants will be awarded by a committee, on which Robinson and Nelson will serve. The committee is also responsible for starting a pilot curriculum for public school students to attain the skills to become business owners.
The money will come from the budget of the city’s Finance Department.
“I am pleased to have resolved the potential claims against the city in this productive manner,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. “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.”
On its face, this settlement has the potential to help interested students, many of whom are black, attain the skills that could potentially give them economic freedom as adults. But in the meantime, a great level of disrespect remains unavenged. The two men were racially profiled within two minutes of walking into the establishment.
Robinson, who said he’s been a Starbucks customer since he was 15, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the agreement with Philadelphia was the right decision.
“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,” he 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.”
The officers involved stated they didn’t want to arrest the gentleman, Police Commissioner Richard Ross also mentioned his failure with properly accessing the situation in the immediate aftermath, and Starbucks itself is now days away from a nationwide shutdown to educate employees on diversity and racial discrimination.
Thus far, the two men have been very gracious and altruistic as far as trying to turn something that is negative in all other ways into something positive. But what do they get? Certainly, each deserves greater compensation than that, right?
The only thing that can prevent discriminatory business practices from being perpetrated by individuals who are racist, either ambiguous or intentional, is the bottom line. That is the only thing standing in the way of continued incidents of this sort.
Recently, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson mentioned that the resulting bad press, as well as threatened protests and boycotting, have not resulted in decreased revenue. So maybe, just maybe Nelson and Robinson need to put more financial pressure on them. While it’s great that they’re attempting to better their overall community, a few chips in their pockets would be apropos as well.
Johnson, in a statement issued on Thursday, thanked Nelson and Robinson for their “willingness to reconcile.”
The two were held in a dirty jail cell as if they were criminals because a scared white woman didn’t like the looks of them. Remember, two minutes is the total time they were there before the police were called.
Put plainly, that’s some straight up bullsh@t. While I don’t want to see anyone from Starbucks suffering a fate comparable to a Game of Thrones torture chamber, they can certainly stand just a bit more “punishment”.
They’re getting off too easy.