Police will no longer save a few dollars when they buy from Allie’s Donuts in Rhode Island, following a move that has blown up along partisan lines on social media.
The popular doughnut shop in Rhode Island saw a sudden uptick in customers over the weekend after it ended a discount program for police, amid a surge in anti-law enforcement sentiment following the death of George Floyd.
Allie’s Donuts announced on social media Saturday that it was revoking discounts for police and military in response to a local incident of alleged racial profiling involving a Black firefighter, which occurred amid country-wide protests against anti-Black racism.
“We’re fed up,” the store wrote on its Facebook and Instagram stories. “Until local police take action to solve problems with racism & injustice, (Allie’s Donuts) will choose to stand with the people of our great state. We will no longer offer military or police discounts.
“Thank you for your service, and shame on you for your silence,” Allie’s Donuts said in its statement.
Allie’s says the decision was prompted by the case of Terrell Paci, a Black firefighter in Providence who accused police of racially profiling him while he was in uniform. The officers pulled their guns on Paci and asked if he was carrying a weapon, he told NBC 10 News. Police have denied the allegations.
Allie’s statement triggered hundreds of social media responses from people who supported the gesture and many others from people who backed the police and military. Critics called for a boycott of the shop.
The doughnut shop came out and clarified its statement the following day, saying that “in no way did we mean to insult people & their service to our country or community.”
The doughnut shop’s public statement led to lineups down the block outside Allie’s on Sunday, where many were eager to support the gesture of solidarity for the Black community.
“If people got as upset about the systemic oppression of Black and brown people in this country as they do about a business ending their police and military discount, then this society would be a lot better for everyone,” one Twitter user wrote, before sharing video of the lines on Sunday.
Many others praised Allie’s for being allies of the Black Lives Matter movement.
However, some protesters also showed up to denounce the doughnut shop.
North Kingstown police called the move “divisive” in a Facebook post.
“Let’s start talking about how to lift UP our community and not tear it down,” they wrote. “Police themselves aren’t the problem — racism is the problem.”
The doughnut shop’s owner, Matt Drescher, addressed the unexpected backlash in a video posted to Instagram. He said he didn’t mean to disrespect people in uniform. He just wanted to encourage equality.
“People in power, people with influence, let’s discuss how to fix things,” he said.
—With files from The Associated Press
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