The two men recently arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks have spoken out on the incident for the first time.
Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were only in the Starbucks in Philadelphia’s tony Rittenhouse Square neighborhood for two minutes until police were called to arrest them, according to an interview with Good Morning America. Nelson and Robinson were waiting for the arrival of Andrew Yaffe, a white local businessman, to discuss a potential real estate opportunity, when officers told the men they had to leave without offering an explanation.
“We were there for a real reason, a real deal that we were working on,” Robinson said according to a report from Associated Press. “We put in a lot of time, energy, effort. … We were at a moment that could have a positive impact on a whole ladder of people, lives, families. So I was like, ‘No, you’re not stopping that right now.'”
Nelson and Robinson spent hours in a jail cell following the incident. They were released after midnight when the district attorney declined to prosecute them for trespassing. The two found out the video of the incident had gone viral upon being released.
The video, recorded on a white customer’s cellphone video, shows the officers arresting Nelson and Robinson, with the pair not resisting arrest. During the video Yaffe shows up and asks the cops why the men are being arrested.
“When you know that you did nothing wrong, how do you really react to it?” Nelson said. “You can either be ignorant or you can show some type of sophistication and act like you have class. That was the choice we had.”
The protest against the Philadelphia Starbucks as well as a boycott of the coffee chain followed the viral video. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized for the incident and has ordered that stores close for mandatory training to tackle unconscious bias. The manager who also called the police on Nelson and Robinson has left the company.
Source: Associated Press
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