The two black men arrested at Starbucks in Philadelphia have broken their silence and spoke out about the incident that sent people into a fury.
The two black men’s arrest at Starbucks kicked off a nationwide boycott of the coffee chain and many to protest the mega coffee chain for its “racism” against the men.
Two black men arrested at Starbucks names revealed in exclusive interview with ABC.
The two black men arrested at Starbucks are 23-year-old Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, who is the same age, the men sat down for interviews with ABC’s Good Morning America and the AP on Thursday to discuss the incident that occurred at the Philly store, with one of the men revealing that he did not realize the full gravity of the situation until he was escorted from the store in handcuffs.
“I was just trying to process the situation to myself at the time because I’m thinking about my family, that I have my community, so in that moment I’m trying to process what’s going on because it didn’t really hit me what was going on—that it was real—until I’m being double locked and my hands are behind my back,” Robinson said.
The two men explained that they arrived at Starbucks ten minutes early to a meeting they had scheduled for 4:45 p.m. when Nelson asked the shop employee to use the restroom.
The store manager informed him that due to company policy only “paying customers” could use the restroom.
“I just left it at that at that moment,” Nelson told Good Morning America, adding that he decided to sit down and wait until the meeting began.
“We’re at the table, we sit down, we’re just talking amongst each other. She comes from around the register and walks up to ask if she can help us with anything, can we start with some drinks, or water, or something like that,” Robinson says.
Two minutes after they arrived at the store, the store manager called 911 and told the police that two men refused “to make a purchase.”
When Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson noticed the three officers walk into the store, they didn’t think the officers were there for them. Nelson and Robinson added that the store’s employees never asked them to leave.
Nelson said the officers told them they had to leave the premises “immediately” without asking any questions first.
“As soon as they approached us they just said we have to leave. There was no question of ‘was there a problem here between you and the manager?’” Nelson said.
The two men said they did not resist arrest even as the officers did not explain to them the charges against them.
“We wasn’t read any rights. Nothing, just double lock handcuffs behind our backs and escorted out and put in a squad car,” Robinson said.
“When you know that you did nothing wrong, how do you really react to it?” Nelson told the Associated Press. “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.”
Commissioner Richard Ross said in a video statement the police arrested Nelson and Robinson for trespassing, but no charges were filed against them as Starbucks did not want to pursue it any further.
Many people on Twitter called for a boycott of the coffee chain after the video went viral.
Starbucks released a statement regarding the incident and sent its CEO Kevin to Philadelphia on Monday to personally apologize to the two black men arrested at Starbucks and announced it is closing 8,000 of its stores for an afternoon to conduct “racial bias training” next month.
A Starbucks spokesperson said the manager who called the police is “no longer at that store,” but did not go into any further detail on any specifics of what happened regarding the employee’s removal from the Philly store.