Thursday morning on Good Morning America, the two black men whose recent arrest at a Philadelphia Starbucks sparked protests came forward with their own stories for the first time.
Last Thursday, when Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson arrived at a Center City Starbucks around 4:35 p.m., Nelson asked to use the restroom and was told they were only for paying customers. He then sat back down, whereupon the manager asked if she could help them with anything. The two told her they were waiting for someone for a business meeting and would be out shortly. According to 911 records, a call was placed to police at 4:37 p.m., two minutes after the men sat down; cops then arrived and arrested Nelson and Robinson for trespassing.
@Starbucks The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing. All the other white ppl are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing. pic.twitter.com/0U4Pzs55Ci- Melissa DePino (@missydepino) April 12, 2018
In cellphone footage from the arrest, you can see Nelson and Robinson talking to the police officers. Robinson said in that moment, he was trying to process what was happening: "I'm thinking about my family that I have, my community. So in that moment, I was trying to process what was going on because it didn't really hit me that it was real until I'm being double-locked and my hands behind my back."
Since the arrest, people have been protesting in Philadelphia and boycotting Starbucks. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson issued an apology, calling the situation "disheartening" and the outcome "reprehensible." The company also announced it will be closing 8,000 U.S. stores for one day in order to conduct anti-bias training.
When asked what he wants to see going forward, Robinson said he wants to make sure this situation doesn't happen again. He told GMA, "I want for a young man, or young men, to not be traumatized by this and instead motivated, inspired."
Nelson then added that people should take this incident as a stepping stone to stand up. "Show your greatness and that you're not judged by the color of your skin as our ancestors were or anyone else," he said. "This is something that's been going on for years, and everyone's blind to it, but they know it's going on... It's not just a black people thing, this is a people thing. That's exactly what we want to see out of this and that's true change. Put action into place, and stop using your words."
Watch the entire interview, here:
FULL INTERVIEW: "This is something that has been going on for years...everyone is blind to it."- Good Morning America (@GMA) April 19, 2018
Rashon Nelson & Donte Robinson, the 2 black men arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, speak out exclusively to @RobinRoberts: https://t.co/bIBmMGlwWN pic.twitter.com/IZekmHrWw2
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