WASHINGTON (TEGNA) — A popular Rhode Island doughnut shop announced over the weekend that they have decided to stop giving discounts to police and military personnel amid growing discontent with law enforcement.
The owner of Allie's Donuts, Matt Drescher, criticized police on Saturday for their silence after a Providence city firefighter told a local news station that police officers drew guns on him recently while he was on duty and racially profiled him.
During an emotional scene at a protest, Providence firefighter Terrell Paci recounted to WPRI how he was outside his fire station earlier in the week talking to a friend when officers arrived with their guns drawn.
“I was dressed in full uniform and had my radio in hand,” Paci recalled. He read from his phone saying that he told the police, "I’m a firefighter, I’m PFD, I’m one of you’ and they still kept approaching the vehicle with guns drawn.”
Soon after, Allie's Donuts published a note on its Instagram story, which referenced the local firefighter's experience.
“We’re fed up. Until local police takes action to solve problems with racism and injustice, @alliesdonuts will choose to stand with the people of our great state," the announcement said. "We will no longer offer military or police discounts. Thank you for your service, And shame on you for your silence.”
Reaction from the community was mixed with some threatening to boycott the store, while others came out to support the shop.
Over the weekend, a line of supporters stood outside Allie's waiting to be served and to support the business and the owner. Allie's says they have never seen lines of people that long there before.
In a nearly 15-minute video posted to the shop's Instagram page, Drescher said the initial message didn't really convey his intention.
"I just wanted to take away a privilege from people so that we could all be equal," he explained and encouraged everyone to start a conversation. He added that the shop would be donating Saturday's profits to the Amos House, which is a homeless service in Providence, Rhode Island.
Drescher also said Allie's will donate to Rhode Island for Community and Justice, which is a social justice non-profit in the state.
In a written statement shared by WPRI in Rhode Island, Drescher said, "Allie's Donuts believes the time is now to come together to find solutions to what has created so much fear and strife. Together, as those with voices speak up, the people that CAN make a difference, will, indeed, MAKE THAT difference."