The Phoenix Police Department has had a rough summer.
Allegations of misconduct and excessive force dating back years have been leveled against the department. Several officer-involved killings have come under public scrutiny. There's been angry demonstrators outside its headquarters. And the department is facing criticism for its harsh treatment of protesters, including a lawsuit alleging officers chased protesters into a residential neighborhood before blasting them and bystanders with rubber bullets at close range. Police also fired pepper balls and arrested scores of protesters on charges of obstructing roadways with their marches.
Sounds like these officers need a break. Luckily, New York-based PepsiCo, Inc. has arrived with some reinforcements. Yesterday, the company donated pallets of refreshing beverages to the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association's charity wing.
PepsiCo came under fire back in 2017 for its ad that featured white millionaire Kendall Jenner joining a generic Black Lives Matter protest at the invitation of an attractive guitar player and then defusing a confrontation with police by handing an also-attractive police officer a can of Pepsi. Rejoicing followed. Is PepsiCo trying to send the Phoenix police department a message with a similar donation? Will Phoenix police chill out as a result?
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PepsiCo's media contact did not respond to an email seeking answers about the connection to the infamous ad. The company has also been distributing pallets of Gatorade and water to other police departments.
Efforts to placate police with Pepsi in Portland and Los Angeles haven't gone over well. Officers have refused offers of ice cold Pepsis, and in some cases, protesters have resorted to flinging cans of the soda at law enforcement.
But at least we know the next time the Phoenix Police Department deploys crowd-control munitions against the citizens of Phoenix, it will be with a well-hydrated trigger finger — courtesy of the folks at PepsiCo, Inc.