Two African-American men arrested last month for sitting at a Starbucks store in Philadelphia without ordering anything have settled with the city administration for $1 each, and a promise from officials to set up a $200,000 (Rs 1.33 crore) programme for young entrepreneurs, AP reported.
On April 12, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were led away in handcuffs after the manager called the police because they refused to buy anything. They were released after spending hours in jail, and no charges were filed. This sparked protests against racial profiling.
“This was an incident that evoked a lot of pain in our city, pain that would have resurfaced over and over again in protracted litigation, which presents significant legal risks and high financial and emotional costs for everyone involved,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson visited Philadelphia to personally apologise to the two men, and announced the company’s stores would remain closed on May 29 for training on bias. “I want to thank Donte and Rashon for their willingness to reconcile,” Johnson said. “I welcome the opportunity to begin a relationship with them to share learnings and experiences. And Starbucks will continue to take actions that stem from this incident to repair and reaffirm our values and vision for the kind of company we want to be.”
Nelson and Robinson will work with former United States Attorney General Eric Holder to strengthen Starbucks’ diversity and equity efforts. They will also work with the Philadelphia administration to develop a committee that will award grants for the entrepreneurship programme.