NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) – A popular Rhode Island doughnut shop caused a social media firestorm this weekend after announcing it would no longer offer discounts to members of the military or police.
Allie’s Donuts took to Instagram Saturday evening to criticize Providence police, after a city firefighter alleged live on WPRI 12 that he was racially profiled by two officers on June 3. The city is investigating the claims, which the police union vehemently disputes.
A post from the Allie’s Donuts Instagram account read in part, “despite being the ones responsible for protecting the law, you may be considered ‘above it’ and face zero consequences for your mistakes.”
It continued: “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 of police discounts. Thank you for your service, and shame on your for your silence.”
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WPRI 12 reached out to the store’s owner and operator, Matt Drescher, whose family has run Allie’s for three generations.
“Times are tough,” Drescher said 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,” he continued. “Together, as those with voices speak up, the people that can make a difference, will, indeed, make that difference.”
Drescher said Allie’s would typically offer “as much as we could” to customers in any uniform. He said most of the time those people — military, police, doctors and nurses — would decline the discount and pay full price.
“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.”
Drescher said he hoped that the community could come together on Sunday to “enjoy our products.”
“We believe that all people in our community are our brothers and sisters,” he said.
On Sunday morning, dozens of people lined up outside Allie’s Donuts. The line went around the entire building and back into the parking lot. Some of the people were holding “Black Lives Matters” and “End Police Brutality” signs.