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 and Donte Robinson, the two men arrested (seemingly for no reason) last weekend at a Starbucks, appeared on GMA for their first television appearance. The footage of their encounter with law enforcement went viral, which started a growing boycott movement, given that the two men had only asked to use the restroom before the manager called police. Robinson revealed that they were waiting for a friend to discuss a real estate deal, and about two minutes after they entered the store, law enforcement was summoned:
“Initially as soon as they approached us they said we have to leave. There was no question of, ‘was there a problem here with you guys and a manager, you know, what happened. At the time were not read any rights. Nothing. Just double locked. Handcuffed behind our backs and escorted out and put into a squad car.”
The pair’s attorney told Robin Roberts that they shouldn’t be required to voice their opinion on the manager’s intent because “the facts speak for themselves,” and no witnesses saw the men do anything wrong. However, Nelson revealed, “This is something that has been going on for years and everyone’s blind to it but they know what’s going on.” Robinson agreed and stated that “rules are rules,” but “what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong.” Later, Nelson added — while hoping that this will effect change and show that people should not be judged by race — “It’s not just a black people thing, it’s a people thing.”
Both Nelson and Robinson want to motivate and inspire other young men who endure similar traumas. In another interview with the Associated Press, Robinson explained that their real estate deal was “real” and had involved “a lot of time, energy effort,” and they hoped that the Starbucks meeting “could have [had] a positive impact on a whole ladder of people, lives, families.” Instead, he found himself wondering about his loved ones while being arrested, and Nelson admitted fearing for his own life during the incident.