Twitter was abuzz about the $1 symbolic settlement Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson received from the city of Philadelphia following their completely unnecessary arrest at a Philly Starbucks last month.
The pair also negotiated for the city to fund a $200,000 entrepreneur program for Philadelphia public high school students.
Nelson and Robinson were sitting in a Starbucks waiting for a business associate when a manger decided to call the police on the young men for…sitting there. Video of the two composed, calm gentlemen being put in handcuffs for no reason went viral and nationwide support pushed for a boycott of the coffee chain.
Given that Starbucks is a multi-national corporation that basically prints money everyday, many people scoffed at the seemingly small $200,000 youth program and of course at the $1 nominal settlement.
But here’s the thing…Starbucks is GOING to come off some coins. There is no doubt about that. They have to save (corporate) face and they know they need to do more than just the one afternoon of store closures for implicit bias training.
The company just issued a statement basically saying as much.
“The agreement between the parties stemming from the events in Philadelphia on April 12 will include a financial settlement as well as continued listening and dialogue between the parties and specific action and opportunity,” reads the statement.
“I want to thank Donte and Rashon for their willingness to reconcile,” said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson. “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.”
Starbucks and the two men will be issuing a joint statement at a later date with more details about the settlement.
Translation: Starbucks is about to pay some major dough, set up some kind of program, and maybe toss Nelson and Robinson some stock options.
Legal Experts Weigh In
When theGrio rounded up a few legal experts to ask about what kind of settlement the two men could expect, they all told us that any settlement reached with the city would be modest.
“Legally, the amount of damages is nominal. They were held for several hours and charges were dropped,” said New York City defense attorney Paul Martin.
So, no surprise that the city settlement is not exactly mind-blowing. Starbucks on the hand, has some serious public relations issues to resolve and they have deep pockets.
Sophia Nelson, attorney, corporate trainer, and author “E. Pluribus ONE: Reclaiming Our Founders’ Vision for a United America,” told theGrio how a lawsuit would have played out and how the two parties have decided to resolve situation.
“Starbucks has admitted guilt. The men were humiliated globally via video by being arrested. It would be a big payday for sure. However, what Starbucks is doing is saying to these men, ‘come be part of the solution and healing,'” Nelson said.
Nelson also predicted that Starbucks would offer the men a private settlement and find ways to continue engaging with them and further working on their own bias training and policies.
So have no fear, Nelson and Robinson are not necessarily falling for the okie doke here and taking a small settlement as some badge of honor. They turned their city settlement into an entrepreneur program for youth, my guess is that they will create their own entrepreneurial opportunity with their Starbucks settlement.