Black men arrested at Starbucks settle for $1 each and $200,000 programme

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By Pascale Davies  with Associated Press
Black men arrested at Starbucks settle for $1 each and $200,000 programme
Copyright  Reuters/Dominick

Two black men who were arrested last month for sitting at a Starbucks in Philadelphia without ordering anything settled with the city on Wednesday for only $1 each (€0.84).

However, the agreement included a commitment from Philidelphia of over €167,000 to a programme for entrepreneurial high school students.

The men’s lawyer and the city's Mayor Jim Kenney outlined the deal 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 arrest of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson on April 12, sparked fury and protests in the US over racial profiling.

The men say they were waiting at the coffee shop in the city's upmarket Rittenhouse Square neighbourhood for a business meeting with a third man.

But Nelson and Robinson were led away in handcuffs after the manager called the police and told them they refused to buy anything or leave. Both men spent several hours in jail, but were shortly released and no charges were filed.

Philadelphia's mayor said the men approached the city about working together to “make something positive come of this.”

The entrepreneur programme will be for Philadelphia public high school students. Robinson said “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,”

During the outrage, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson went to Philadelphia to apologise to the men. He also announced that over 8,000 stores in the US would close on the afternoon of May 29 so that thousands of its employess could receive awareness training on unconscious bias.