Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, the two 23-year-old black men who were arrested at Starbucks over the weekend for “trespassing” when they were simply waiting to meet someone, are finally speaking out about their experience.
Video of the arrest went viral on Saturday, and many people were outraged that a Starbucks employee called the cops on the two men who were simply sitting and minding their own business. According to the Associated Press, when cops arrived, Rashon and Donte “feared” for their lives.
BREAKING: Black men arrested at Philadelphia Starbucks tell AP they did nothing wrong, feared for lives.
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 19, 2018
During a recent interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, both Donte and Rashon described the surreal experience — and how the police were called roughly two minutes after the two men showed up to the Starbucks in question.
FULL INTERVIEW: “This is something that has been going on for years…everyone is blind to it.”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 19, 2018
When the cops showed up, Nelson and Robinson say that they weren’t even sure why they were being arrested and that they weren’t even read their rights.
The two had been waiting at Starbucks for a business associate to discuss a real estate proposal.
“You go from being someone who’s just trying to be an entrepreneur, having your own dreams and aspirations, and then this happens,” Nelson told the Associated Press. “How do you handle it? Do you stand up? Do you fight? Do you sit down and just watch everyone else fight for you? Do you let it slide, like we let everything else slide with injustice?”
According to TIME, both Nelson and Robinson are now in mediation proceedings with Starbucks :
Nelson and Robinson said they’re looking for more lasting results and are in mediation proceedings with Starbucks to implement changes, including the posting in stores of a customer bill of rights; the adoption of new policies regarding customer ejections, racial profiling and racial discrimination; and independent investigations of complaints of profiling or discrimination from customers and employees.
“We need a different type of action … not words,” Robinson says. “It’s a time to pay attention and understand what’s really going on. We do want a seat at the table.”