Black Men at Center of Starbucks Arrest Controversy Tell Their Story: 'There Was No Reasoning'

Black Men at Center of Starbucks Arrest Controversy Tell Their Story: 'There Was No Reasoning'
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  • Robin Roberts
    Robin Roberts
    American television broadcaster

The two black men at the center of the controversial arrest at a Philadelphia Starbucks have come forward to tell their side of the story.

Rashan Nelson and Donte Robinson spoke out on "Good Morning America" Thursday morning during their first television appearance since their arrest at the coffee shop on April 12.

Nelson said he asked to use the restroom as soon as they walked in, and was told by the manager that it was for paying customers only.

Robinson told host Robin Roberts they sat down and were talking as they awaited the start of a business meeting, [when the manager] walked over from around the register and asked if she could help them with anything.

Two minutes into their visit to Starbucks, the manager called 911 to report "two gentlemen in my cafe who are refusing to make a purchase or leave," the manager said in the call.

"There was no question of, you know, was there a problem here between you guys and a manager, you know, what happened," Nelson told Roberts.

The men claimed they were handcuffed and taken out to a police squad car, and were not told what they were being arrested for.

"There was no reasoning," Robinson said. "They had nothing. They just kept using ‘defiant trespassing’ as their excuse for putting us behind bars."

Police claim the men were told multiple times to leave and refused. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. defended the officers in a video posted Saturday, saying he believed the officers "did absolutely nothing wrong."

However, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson released a statement Wednesday night, apologizing to Robinson and Nelson on behalf of the company.

Starbucks said in a separate statement that the manager is no longer working at the store.


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