Dunkin’ Donuts and Police: Do #BlackLivesMatter, or Do All Lives Matter?

Tuesday, October 06, 2015


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The initial Facebook

Following last Friday's incident where a Providence Dunkin' Donuts employee wrote #blacklivesmatter on a police officer's cup, sides are weighing in on the responses from Dunkin' Donuts and the police -- and the "Black Lives Matter" versus "all lives matter" campaigns currently in national discourse. 

"The reason why we have 'Black Lives Matter' -- it's because it doesn't seem like our lives matter," said Jim Vincent, President of the the Providence Providence Branch. "Saying "all lives matter' is a way to avoid the topic. So why can't someone say 'Black Lives Matter, and once we've established that we can go and say 'all lives matter." But first we need do say, and agree -- Black Lives Matter."

Providence's "Dancing Cop" Tony Lepore, who has been promoting a boycott of Dunkin' Donuts in wake of last weekend's events, addressed the 'Black Lives Matter' versus 'all lives matter.' 

"This is a serious matter, because of the recent killings of police officers, and agitators from the "Black Lives Matter" group. As far as I`m concerned, they are the catalysts.  It`s not an organization of black against whites or police officers. To me it`s a radical organization with no rhyme or reason.  All lives matter, and our good citizens' line of defense is their local police. Without them, there would be nothing but chaos," said Lepore. 

Addressing the Issue

The NAACP's Vincent spoke further to the role of Black Lives Matter -- and questioned the officer for posting the Facebook image. GoLocal was first to break the story on Saturday.

"They're not saying anything negative related to the police," said Vincent of the employee's actions. "Implicit in 'Black Lives Matter' is not 'we're anti-police', if that's the case then that's in a person's heart.  This just shows they're pro-black lives -- they want people to see to see they're concerned about the deaths of black people."

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Jim Vincent

Vincent said he viewed the response from rhe FOP as a call for putting a Black Major in the Providence department, as is being called for by members of the community in the "Black Major Movement."

"I think it calls for a more diverse police force, when you see reactions like this from the FOP," said Vincent.   "Do they believe Black Lives Matter?  It really begs the question. Will they go on record and say it?"

Vincent added that he thought the officer's Facebook post could be a violation of the force's social media policy. 

"Did his Facebook post violate department social media policy?  That's one of my first questions.  If that's the case, he should be reprimanded," said Vincent.  

Providence FOP President Taft Manzotti said on Monday that that the officer's post was not a violation of social media policy.

"It's not a violation of the social media policy, he was not making a statement on behalf of the department, he was recounting an event to his friends," said Manzotti, who had released the FOP's initial response on Saturday. "Let's not put the issue where it's not. The employee's actions were insensitive and wrong, and there's been a backlash."

"I'd think that [Jim Vincent] would agree all lives are precious, and all lives should be appreciated, because you never know when your time's up," said Manzotti. "There are kids in the hospital suffering from cancer, all walks of life, their lives matter. As for writing something on an officer's coffee cup, as long as you have a point of view, you just don't do it at the work place.  [The police] are taken for granted."

Manzotte and the Provience FOP -- and national FOP -- expressed their concerns for the safety of officers in light of what happened. 

Vincent said he did not condone the action in Connecticut, of the employee refusing to serve an officer. 

"I don't condone discriminating against anyone," said Vincent. "If you work for Dunkin' Donuts, and you don't serve a customer, you need to leave."

State Rep Defends #BlackLivesMatter

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Aaron Regunberg, the freshman State Representative in House District 4 in Providence, took to Facebook to express his support for #blacklivesmatter, following this past weekend's events. 

Following the Providence FOP's response, Regunberg posted under the article on Facebook, "Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter."

"I think that it is always inappropriate to respond to the statement 'Black Lives Matter' with the statement 'all lives matter.' Obviously, all lives should matter, we know that," said Regunberg. "But the reality is we live in a country and a system where we have not actualized that goal, because we know that black lives are not treated equally from a number of measures."

"I think anyone who goes into a coffee shop deserves to be treated with respect," continued Regunberg. "But I certainly don't think the assertion that 'Black Lives Matter' means that in any way other lives don't."


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