The founder of a chain of progressive restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area is standing by his call to defund the police and abolish prisons despite a reported attempted armed robbery at one of his locations.
Busboys and Poets is a restaurant, bar, bookstore, and self-proclaimed “safe space” founded by CEO Andy Shallal. In spite of admitting to an increase in violent crime in D.C., with this latest incident occurring at one of his own establishments on Sunday night, Shallal deflected in an interview with Fox News Digital.
Since nothing was stolen during the robbery, Shallal believes that the perpetrators were, “kids with nothing better to do,” simply looking to, “terrorize people.”
“I think there’s been an uptick in crime,” Shallal said, “not just in D.C. but throughout the country, and D.C. is no exception, of course.”
Shallal stated that he stands by his position to “defund police” now “more than ever” when asked about his tweets from 2020.
“You cannot reform a broken system. You have to dismantle it and start over. Kudos to Minneapolis City Council for taking the lead to dismantle the police department. Next is abolishing prisons,” Shallal wrote, concluding his June 2020 tweet with the hashtags, “DefundPolice #protests #BlackLivesMatter #keepthemomentum.”
You cannot reform a broken system. You have to dismantle it and start over. Kudos to Minneapolis City Council for taking the lead to dismantle the police department. Next is abolishing prisons. #DefundPolice #protests #BlackLivesMatter #keepthemomentum
— Anas (Andy) Shallal (@andyshallal) June 8, 2020
He went on to say, “when the police show up, the incident has already happened. The problem has already occurred…it’s nice to have them show up, but what are we doing to stop the root causes of what makes people do stuff like this?”
He added that police interactions follow “something terrible that’s just happened,” and that the police “can’t un-terrible something.”
Shallal believes moving the money to other resources will make things better for the police, stating, “When we talk about defunding the police, just to be clear, it is to divert some of the funds that go to the police to services that make it easier for the police to do their jobs.”
Shallal still claims he is “not against police” and even empathizes with them. “It’s very hard for them to do their job,” as they are only called “if there’s a problem.”
He believes redirecting funds to social workers and mental health counselors will allow the police to do “what they really need to do.”
Shallal also believes that riots following the death of George Floyd grew more peaceful only after the police changed their behavior.
“The demonstrations are getting more peaceful according to news. Nothing changed with the protestors, it’s the police that have become less violent. Defunding police and Refunding much needed social services is the way forward. #BlackLivesMatters #protests2020 #DefundPolice”
The demonstrations are getting more peaceful according to news. Nothing changed with the protesters, it’s the police that have become less violent. Defunding police and Refunding much needed social services is the way forward. #BlackLivesMattters #protests2020 #DefundPolice
— Anas (Andy) Shallal (@andyshallal) June 6, 2020
Further, while his restaurants claim to be a “venue for respectful conversations between diverse groups,” Busboys and Poets canceled an event for Democrats after it was revealed they were pro-life, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
“While we welcome conversations from individuals expressing different viewpoints and pride ourselves on being a venue for respectful conversations between diverse groups, we are also a safe space. As such,” a spokeswoman for the restaurant told the Beacon, “we cannot knowingly accept events designed to fund an agenda which our community members believe to be trampling on the rights of others.”
Shallal himself has been a frequent donor to Democrats, reportedly giving thousands to campaigns including Vice President Kamala Harris’ failed presidential campaign. Additionally, while the restaurant seems to take umbrage with pro-life Democrats, they had no issue hosting an anti-Israel event in 2019.
The attempted robbery from Sunday night inspired some to call out Shallal’s past remarks.
When there’s no punishment for committing a crime, you have more crime. It’s very simple. And when a mom has 8 kids from 8 daddy’s and there’s no discipline in the home. But good luck with that feel good restaurant of yours.
— Fred wilcox (@fredvw0417) February 8, 2022
Progressives living in fantasyland. The only crimes that seem to be going down are the ones where’s DAs changed the rules and don’t charge the arrested.
— RJB (@endoshurt) February 8, 2022
Getting rid of prisons will have an enormous negative impact on law abiding citizens, what is wrong with you?
— Chris (@crperreira) February 7, 2022
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