Black men arrested at Philadelphia Starbucks feared for their lives

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were waiting for business meeting and now left wondering how 12 April incident escalated

Two black men arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks said they were just waiting for a business meeting and a week later still wonder how that could have escalated into a police encounter that left them fearing for their lives.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson spoke to the Associated Press in their first interview since video of their 12 April arrests went viral.

Robinson said he thought about his loved ones and how the afternoon had taken such a turn as he was taken to jail. Nelson wondered if he would make it home alive.

Anytime Im encountered by cops, I can honestly say its a thought that runs through my mind, Nelson said. You never know whats going to happen.

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The arrests, recorded on a white customers cellphone video, galvanized people around the country who saw the exchange as an example of racism.

The men have met with the CEO of Starbucks and are pushing for meaningful change so what happened to them does not happen to anyone else.

Police this week released a recording of the call from the Starbucks employee that led to the arrest. In it, a woman is heard saying the men refused to make a purchase or leave.

Starbucks has promised to shut all 8,000 company-owned stores across the US on 29 May to train employees about unconscious bias.

Nelson initially brushed it off when the Starbucks manager told him he couldnt use the restroom because he wasnt a paying customer.

He thought nothing of it when he and Robinson, his business partner, were approached at their table and were asked if they needed help. The 23-year-old entrepreneurs declined, explaining they were just waiting for a business meeting.

A few minutes later, they hardly noticed when the police walked into the coffee shop until officers started walking in their direction.

Thats when we knew she called the police on us, Nelson said.

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Social media video shows arrests of black men at Philadelphia Starbucks video

Nelson and Robinson, black men who became best friends in the fourth grade, were taken in handcuffs from the Starbucks in Philadelphias tony Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, where Robinson has been a customer since he was 15.

We were there for a real reason, a real deal that we were working on, Robinson explained. We put in a lot of time, energy, effort We were at a moment that could have a positive impact on a whole ladder of people, lives, families. So I was like, No, youre not stopping that right now.

The Democratic mayor, Jim Kenney, who is white, said what happened at the Starbucks appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018. The police commissioner, Richard Ross, who is black, said in a Facebook post that arresting officers did absolutely nothing wrong, and added that Nelson and Robinson were disrespectful to officers.

Ross said officers did what they were supposed to do and were professional in their dealings with the men, and instead they got the opposite back.

Nelson and Robinson originally were supposed to meet Andrew Yaffe, a white local businessman, at a Starbucks across town. But the plan changed, and they agreed to meet at the Rittenhouse Square location, where they had met several times before on a potential real estate opportunity.

The black men arrived a few minutes early. Three police officers showed up not long after.

Nelson said they were not questioned but were told to leave immediately.

Yaffe showed up as the men were being handcuffed. He can be seen in the video demanding an explanation for the officers actions. Nelson and Robinson did not resist arrest, confused and unsure of what to think or what might happen next.

When you know that you did nothing wrong, how do you really react to it? Nelson said. You can either be ignorant or you can show some type of sophistication and act like you have class. That was the choice we had.

It was hardly their first encounter with police, a rite of passage that becomes a regular occurrence for many black men their age. But neither had been arrested before, setting them apart from many of their peers in the gritty south-west Philadelphia neighborhood where they grew up.

Attorney Stewart Cohen, representing Nelson and Robinson, said the men were illegally profiled. He pointed to Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race in hotels, restaurants, theaters and other public accommodations.

Seattle-based Starbucks has said the location where the arrests occurred has a policy that restrooms are for paying customers only.

Nelson and Robinson spent hours in a jail cell with no outside contact and no sense of what would happen next. They were released after midnight, when the district attorney declined to prosecute them for trespassing. They had no idea the video of their arrests was making the rounds on the internet.

Over the weekend, attention and outrage over the video grew, prompting a protest at the local Starbucks restaurant and a national boycott. By Monday, the men were set to meet with Starbucks CEO, Kevin Johnson, to discuss what happened.

Johnson has responded quickly to public outcry around the arrests, calling them reprehensible, apologizing and ordering stores closed for mandatory training to tackle unconscious bias.

Nelson and Robinson said they are 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.

Robinson said he appreciates the public support the men have received but anger and boycotting Starbucks are not the solution.

We need a different type of action not words, he said. Its a time to pay attention and understand whats really going on. We do want a seat at the table.

The two men were also interviewed on ABCs Good Morning America on Thursday.

I want to make sure that this doesnt happen again, Robinson said. So what I want is for a young man or young men to not be traumatized by this and instead motivated, inspired.

Asked what the men thought about criticism that they had violated the stores rules, he said: Rules are rules, what is right is right, and what is wrong is wrong.

 

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/19/starbucks-black-men-feared-for-lives-philadelphia

Why Sky-High SoCal Housing Costs Just Keep Rising

Any SoCal Resident Can Tell You Rent is High ,

But did you know the average cost of a home in Los Angeles (< em >$< em> 658,000) is more than double “the member states national” average for houses of the same sizing? Real estate professionals say that the gap between the cost of living in LA and the rest of the country will continue to do big, all the mode through 2018. When gainfully filled, developed parties with stipends hovering around $250,000 a year are looking to move to nearby metropolis due to the inability to find a dwelling within their budget that gratifies their standard of living, it is clear that California is pricing out its own tenants. And the truth is – there isn’t really lots anyone can do about it.

The Cause

While no single question is exclusively to blame for the unbelievably kindled home rate in Los Angeles, the generalized answer is that there are not enough houses to meet the demand, and in addition to being able to that, the cost to build more accommodate remains developers away. It is a vicious cycle of fiscals – people want housing, structure companies can’t fill that challenge because the cost to them is too high, this makes fund and jobs out of the metropolitan area as builders, investors, and developers look to the suburbs to build, so the demand ripens, and the cost flourishes alongside it.

What is even more sudden, is that the positive increment in employment creation and the rest of the economy is actually putting more of a strain on residence rate. Los Angeles has added tens of thousands of jobs in almost all sectors of world markets, from the lower level introduction chores, all the way to opening space for new senior executives and CEOs, and as you can expect, that conveys more parties look to move to the city to fill the openings which the jobs have created; thus adding to the demand for accommodate that seems insatiable in Los Angeles.

The Proposed Mixtures …

The answer seems simple, right? Time build more rooms. Regrettably , nothing is ever easier than i thought. Up until recently there was a push among lawmakers to, at the very least, keep the cost of housing under control through litigation.

The solution seemed concentrated on reducing the cost for contractors to improve the house and new developments. Prior to this year, case seemed to offer huge levy motivations to developers inclined and able to quickly construct brand-new multi-family units, particularly in urban environment. Peculiarly to those builders who moved such new developments more eco-friendly and energy-efficient.

Many state law makers have focused power and scrutiny on low-income house aids. The legislative analyst’s report estimated that building inexpensive residences for the 1.7 million low-income households in California that now devote half their wages on building would expense just as much to finance per year as the state’s spending on Medi-Cal.

… And why they have flunked

As much as state litigators may demand to deal with the devastating home deficit in LA, there is a huge problem – namely, that most decisions involving new developments and building fall into the sips of municipality and local government. The state governments’ hands are restrained. Regrettably, the smaller authorities tend to have a something much narrow-minded consider of developments in the situation, seeking to raise additions and find solutions for/ their/ city, without much its further consideration of the surrounding areas.

Additionally, the main tool that state legislators could use to quickly improve dwellings, is in direct opposition to a myriad of business and environmental pastimes. The C.E.Q.A( California’s governing environmental principle ), in many ways, thwarts the building of brand-new housing developments at any rate which would make an impact on the building shortage.

So the question grows … what can we do? Should we relinquish environmental protection constitutions to lower residence costs? It is a matter for has to be addressed, but with so many political affects and issues, most lawmakers won’t touch it.

And SoCal residents and home owners associations aren’t meeting it all very well. Many of these local regulate bodies are in striking opposition of speedy development of housing- because that means that their vicinities would have to face the dreaded “D” word … Density.

Push-back from neighborhoods and suburban areas is obvious- no one wants to be army in, especially in the areas which are the most affected by the building dearth( affluent coastal communities ). So it appears to be as though lawmakers are obstruction on all fronts.

Have Lawmakers given up ?

This year, it seems as if mood lawmakers have given up on dealing here the increasing casing overhead. Little to no new solutions have been proposed, and those that have are not being passed through and put into locate. The commonwealth is at a stand-still and lawmakers seem to make the ” I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens” approach.

As litigation oversteps to increase the minimum wages to $15 an hour, many people believe that this increase will ease the burden on low-toned and middle-income households and low for financial growth and eventually lead to a reduction in the casing shortage.

“Economists be concerned that if lawmakers don’t fix the house equip problems, many of the state’s efforts to improve the lives of low-income residents will hesitate. Countless legislators cited high-pitched housing expenses as a reason to boost California’s minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next six years, but ” ‘< em> unless something’s done to root residence expenditures, often of that repay multiply “couldve been” feed up by higher fees ,‘ Thornberg said.” (< em> LA Times )

The Verdict ?

SoCal is in a pickle, and with legislators honestly admitting that the casing difficulty is not national priorities for this year, the residents will have to pay the premium. Residence payments in Los Angeles will continue to rise, unchecked, until newer, large opinions come into neighborhood who are capable of is stopped to the vicious cycle of challenge, shortage of supplying, and the tremendous affect of special interests.