New York, NY – MSNBC correspondent Joy Reid complained about police giving motorists free turkeys in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, calling the interactions “traumatizing.”
Multiple law enforcement agencies across the nation have implemented “Turkeys Not Tickets” programs leading up to the holiday in an effort to build positive bonds with members of the community, FOX News reported.
One such example is Mesa Police Department (MPD) Officer Jason Flam, who was handing out turkeys instead of citations when pulling people over for minor traffic violations last week.
The drivers Officer Flam encountered seemed to be happily surprised by the generous gesture, with some even becoming emotional, KSAZ reported.
“One lady with an infectious laugh…started laughing, but the tears were coming down. Another gentleman put his head down and the tears just… don’t think they can afford the turkey, so it worked out really good,” Officer Flam told the news outlet.
“I don’t think we understood how important this was going to be,” he added.
But Reid, who shared a link to the FOX News article highlighting the Turkeys Not Tickets programs on Friday, had an entirely different opinion on the matter.
“Please stop doing this, officers, especially to Black people,” the MSNBC commentator demanded in a Twitter post. “It’s traumatizing, given the history of what happens to us in traffic stops.”
Reid then declared that people who drive cars don’t deserve free turkeys because driving vehicles means they can afford to buy their own holiday food.
“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,” she wrote.
Some of Reid’s supporters responded that handing out turkeys instead of citing people for traffic infractions is nothing more than a “PR stunt.”
“I don’t want no pig giving me a turkey,” one person declared.
Others said officers should have just “handed them out at the station, or a grocery store, or a shelter.”
Many, including Reid, accused officers of making “fake traffic stops” just so they could traumatize black people.
“It’s very terrifying when many of us are pulled over and targeted for nothing,” one commenter complained. “Damn the turkey, go to a community center if they want to do a giveaway. This ain’t it!”
Reid later commented on her own tweet, saying that “terrifying people with a fake and possibly unlawful traffic stop is not smart public relations.”
Others defended the officers’ actions, saying the gifts were nothing more than an act of goodwill.
One person pointed out that allegations the traffic stops are “fake” are inaccurate.
“They’re real stops but just give turkeys and warnings rather than tickets,” he wrote.
Police are “damned if they do, damned if they don’t,” another post read. “[Law Enforcement] is here trying to make an honest community service, doing a kind gesture to try and change public perception and they still get ridiculed by you and your followers.”
“How dare they give out free food so someone can have a good thanksgiving!” one person wrote. “It’s just despicable!”