The two black men who were arrested for refusing to leave a Philadelphia Starbucks are now speaking out, saying they feared for their lives when confronted by police.
Rashon Nelson and his business partner Donte Robinson appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday to talk about being denied the opportunity to use the restroom because they weren’t paying customers, with Robinson saying, “It didn’t really hit me what was going on.”
ABC News anchor Robin Roberts asked them about Starbucks’ policy on non-paying customers and about police asking them repeatedly to leave.
“I understand that, the rules are the rules,” Robinson replied. “But what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. And that’s in any situation, whether race is involved or not.”
In effect, he understands the rules, but will not abide by them if he doesn’t agree with them.
The men explained to The Associated Press that they were meeting a third party for a business meeting at the coffee shop.
Police were eventually called after the men asked to use the restroom and that’s when Nelson “wondered if he’d make it home alive,” the AP reported.
BREAKING: Black men arrested at Philadelphia Starbucks tell AP they did nothing wrong, feared for lives.
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 19, 2018
“Anytime I’m encountered by cops, I can honestly say it’s a thought that runs through my mind,” he told AP. “You never know what’s going to happen.”
Nelson told Good Morning America that he wants the incident to serve as a “stepping stone,” with the hope that it leads to “true change.”
The reaction to the incident has dominated the news cycle, with Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologizing for the “reprehensible” arrests and and ordering all stores closed for mandatory racial sensitivity training.
But as one black man proved when he walked into a Starbucks and demanded a free coffee as “reparations” because of the Philadelphia incident — and got it! — America is being played by the “ridiculousness” of hypersensitive race activists.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 19, 2018
The rush to make the incident about race and not about the men being asked to leave a business because they weren’t paying customers is a reoccurring theme in post-Obama American.
Here’s a sampling of the mixed reactions to the GMA interview from Twitter:
Well done interview with the gentlemen arrested at the Philly Starbucks. @RobinRoberts and @GMA, great interview! To have these two men experience something like that and be able to speak and act with such calm and grace is so inspiring. That is class!
— Michael Sherlock (@MichaelSSpeaks) April 19, 2018
Imagine trying to say they were loitering when you know damn well half the folks that sit in a Starbucks are in it for the wifi and nothing else https://t.co/1VzGlG0rV4
— Tokyo Cyber 8man (@jamaloh_james) April 19, 2018
All they had to do was leave when asked , or buy a cup of coffee! https://t.co/hBJ4hZDPGv
— Debbie Halama (@debbieknowsRE) April 19, 2018
Uhhh, you do know these guys will get some payout from that coffee store right? The media (once again) is up to their black victim & white oppressor narrative to add more fuel to an otherwise small campfire. https://t.co/HtLqqKxztY
— J. Jermane (@paperless80) April 19, 2018
Soro's Poster Boys ! https://t.co/ocrpmnwhju
— Swanny (@Swannytome) April 19, 2018
My whole thing is that… people go to Starbucks to meet other people & just sit there and do work all the time, regardless of if they purchase anything or not https://t.co/TCNMh4Gzs4
— alt acct @southkhalea (@northkhalea) April 19, 2018
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