Some police departments across the country were handing out turkeys instead of tickets this Thanksgiving season, but one MSNBC host was criticized their efforts to build relationships with their community. Joy Reid said the incidents were “traumatizing.”
In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, police departments in various cities gave out frozen turkeys to surprise motorists who had been pulled over for minor traffic violations. Chief of Police Brandon Sarti in Winston, Oregon said he came up with the idea after looking on Facebook.
He purchased several turkeys for his officers to give out. After saying that “this is a way to give back to a community that supports law enforcement, Sarti said, “I wanted to reward good behavior, but I also wanted to make sure that when we’re stopping vehicles, we’re doing the legal stop.”
He added, “So, when we find a violation that’s a minor violation but if all their paperwork and everything is in order, then we shed out the turkey for them.” In Mesa, Arizona, Officer Jason Flam brought the Mesa Police department their first “Turkeys not Tickets” initiative.
MSNBC correspondent Joy Reid did not approve of the police giving those gifts. In a tweet linking to a Fox News article about the Arizona “Turkeys not Tickets” program, Reid wrote, “Please stop doing this, officers, especially to Black people. It’s traumatizing, given the history of what happens to us in traffic stops.”
She continued, adding that those who were being pulled over likely were not in need of a free turkey. “And if someone is driving a car (in one of these cases to COSTCO, which requires a membership fee) they can buy a turkey. End of TED talk.”
But the idea was generally well received by motorists, one commenting to Fox, “I think it’s a nice gesture. I was totally surprised.” Another driver, Mike Ormerod said, “In fact I was just on my way to Costco to pick up some Thanksgiving fixins, so this saved me a few bucks.”
He added, “I think it’s a great idea. I was telling the officer there that I think in the past few years police officers in general have gotten a pretty bad rap, and they have a tough job, and I think it’s important they get recognized for putting it out there every day.”
Officer Flam told Fox that some traffic stops became emotional. “One lady with this infectious laugh just started laughing,” he recalled, “but the tears were coming down, and then this other gentleman just put his head down and, and the tears just – I don’t think they could afford the turkey, so it worked out really good.”
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: OUTSIDER.COM
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