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Rhode Island donut shop announces end to discounts for police, military over assumed racial injustice

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(Photo By Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

A small Rhode Island donut shop that has been run by the same family for decades will no longer offer discounts to police and military personnel in the wake of George Floyd’s death, which has been blamed on the false notion of “systemic racism” within American law enforcement.

As reported by WKRN, Allie’s Donuts posted criticism of Providence police to its Instagram page Saturday evening after a city firefighter alleged on WPIR 12 TV during a newscast that he had been racially profiled by two officers June 3.

The city is currently investigating the claims, though the police union has vehemently denied its officers acted improperly or with racial malice.

A post from Allie’s Donuts noted without evidence that “despite being the ones responsible for protecting the law, you may be considered ‘above it’ and face zero consequences for your mistakes.”

Further, the post noted, “We’re fed up. Until local police takes action to solve problems with racism and 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 your for your silence.”

Again, an investigation into the alleged incident is ongoing; there have been no findings yet.

WPRI contacted Matt Drescher, the store’s current owner and operator, whose family has run the business for three generations.

“Times are tough,” he noted in a written statement. “People everywhere feel unsafe, threatened, and unprotected in their community due to the color of their skin and — regarding those involved in community protection — the style of their working uniforms.

“Allie’s Donuts believes the time is now to come together to find solutions to what has created so much fear and strife,” the statement continued. “Together, as those with voices speak up, the people that can make a difference, will, indeed, make that difference.”

Drescher said that typically he would off “as much as we could” to men and women in any uniform. He also noted that on most occasions, the nurses, doctors, EMS, police, military and other personnel would decline it and pay full price anyway.

“Hopefully, we will not lose customers over our willingness to speak up,” he said. “We respect the military for their sacrifice, and their duty.  We love every policeman, every fireman, every nurse, every National Guard member, every Naval recruit and officer and all of the men and women in the Air Force, Coast Guard, Army, and armed forces.”

On Sunday, Drescher said he would like the community to come together and “enjoy our products.”

Another post to the company’s Instagram page said, “Dear Rhode Island. We have some explaining to do… we hope that you are willing to stand and speak up with us during these very important and troubling times in America. We thank you all for your love, for your concern, and for your sacrifices. If you have the time, please read more about our stance in our story.”

In an interview with WPRI, firefighter Terrell Paci, 23, claimed that two officers approached him with guns drawn a week ago while he was in uniform in front of his fire station.

“I was dressed in full uniform and had my radio in hand,” Paci said. “I was like, ‘I’m a firefighter, I’m PFD, I’m one of you’ and they still kept approaching the vehicle with guns drawn.”

The firefighters union backed their own.

But the Providence Fraternal Order of Police issued a statement following the interview saying they “wholeheartedly disagree” with Paci’s claims.

“At no time did the officers display any act that could be construed as racial profiling,” the statement from the Providence Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #3, read. “They were simply responding to and investigating an incident based on the information given to them from an on-scene complainant. All reports, racial profiling cards, and stop survey cards were completed. The transparency of their actions is beyond reproach.”

The police union also accused Paci of embellishing the alleged incident.

“It is sad and disgusting that a Providence firefighter would distort the truth about our police officers, and that his opportunistic union president would recklessly publicize these mistruths in an environment when police are under attack. The only injustice here is that by the firefighter in question and his union president,” the statement concluded.

Jon Dougherty

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