Update: Bloomberg reports that Starbucks has also agreed a settlement with the two men.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson: “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”
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As we detailed earlier, less than three weeks after two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks after not ordering anything – causing uproar across the US over accusations of racial profiling – The Associated Press reports that they have settled with the city for a symbolic $1 each Wednesday 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.
“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 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.”
As a reminder, 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 for a business meeting about a potential real estate deal.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson came to Philadelphia to personally apologize. He also announced Starbucks stores would close May 29 for training on bias.
“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” said Starbucks ceo Kevin Johnson in a Tuesday statement. “While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”
The sensitivity training will be developed with input from local and national experts on racial bias – including Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Heather McGhee, president of Demos; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; and Jonathan Greenblatt, ceo of the Anti-Defamation League
On Monday, Johnson met with the two men to apologize in a private meeting for what he called “reprehensible” circumstances which led to their arrest.
“I will fix this,” Johnson added in a recorded message.
For now $200,000 seems ‘cheap’.
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