‘We are Allies!’: Rhode Island shop’s offer of free doughnuts to bring to police criticized as ‘backpedaling’

The move at Allie's Donuts follows a controversial decision to forgo a police and military discount in June.

A popular Rhode Island doughnut shop is being criticized for “backpedaling” over encouraging customers to bring doughnuts to local police after the store made a controversial decision to end a law enforcement and military discount in June.

In a social media post Sunday, Allie’s Donuts said it was offering free boxes of half a dozen doughnuts for anyone to take as long as the customer promised to bring them to police.

“We are Allies!,” a picture published with the post reads. “Please accept this gift as an understanding; that, the citizens of Rhode Island & their numerous police forces are ALL TOGETHER, standing for and protecting justice & equality in our communities. Our unified goal is to keep each other SAFE & we will keep everyone accountable for peaceful & respectful behavior in our efforts to reach it.”

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The shop said it would continue to offer the free doughnuts every day it could until further notice.

Hey y’all! Starting today, we are putting together half-dozen box gifts, FREE to the public, as long as they promise to…

Posted by Allie's Donuts Inc on Sunday, August 30, 2020

The offer was met with mixed reception on Facebook, where many accused the North Kingston shop of backtracking on opting to no longer offer discounts to police and military members in uniform earlier this year.

That call, which was also met with contrasting reactions, was made after a Black Providence firefighter said he was racially profiled by two city police officers on June 2. (The city’s public safety commissioner later said the firefighter was not profiled following a review of the incident.)

“We’re fed up,” Allie’s Donuts said in a post days after the firefighter’s account went public. “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.”

Some customers swore the shop lost their business. Local police called the store’s remarks “divisive.”

On Sunday, some said the store’s latest decision could not undo the impact of its previous move.

“Wow — that’s some backpedaling,” one person commented. “I won’t go to your shop ever again after the way you treated law enforcement so terribly before.”

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Wrote another, “After all that ‘we stand with the community’ talk you’re just going to backpedal in this pathetic attempt to win back support of these pigs? Ok cool. We all see your true colors.”

Others were perplexed.

“This doesn’t even make sense. Backpeddling (sic) hard huh?” a commenter wrote.

Still, some of those who chimed into the 1,700-plus comment thread supported the decision, calling it a kind gesture and offering support for a “second chance.”

“Yes, people aren’t allowed to change their views,” one person wrote. “Punish all forever who say one thing and then decide that they didn’t like what they said before and try to make amends. Keep dividing the country everybody. It’s working great for all.”

In an Instagram story post later Sunday, Allie’s Donuts worked to provide clarity, affirming that the store was “not back peddling (sic),” but instead “working TOGETHER, with both sides.”

The store also shared a comment posted on its page: “I don’t personally agree with the move but I can respect the decision and the desire to bridge the gap in some small way between law enforcement and the community. I want accountability for police and military being weaponized against Black people. Ultimately that accountability has to be remedial.”

The shop responded: “EXACTLY our point! We need to work together to make sure nobody dies in Rhode Island due to racism, injustice, protesting, or protecting!”

“We can’t make everyone happy,” the Instagram post says. “We would like to keep everyone ALIVE, though…”

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Allie’s Donuts reopened on Aug. 26 after the shop temporarily closed down five days earlier due to a COVID-19 scare apparently brought on by a false positive test result in the “tight-knit community surrounding the Allie’s Donuts Family,” the store wrote on social media.

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