Providence's penchant for coffee cup activism continues: According to the Providence Journal, a group of Rhode Island residents gave away coffee last Friday outside of the Providence police headquarters. The coffee cups had the phrase "#blacklivesmatter" written on them.
The group explains that this move was in response to a protest held by a former cop a week ago. Tony Lepore set up the small protest outside of the Dunkin' Donuts where earlier this month, a Providence police officer purchased a cup of coffee. He was given a cup with "#blacklivesmatter" scrawled across the side after alleging receiving reluctant service from the employee. Lepore is calling for the employee to be fired.
Many police officers were just as upset as Lepore over the incident. The police union was quite angry and released a statement "condemning the employee and the Black Lives Matter Movement." A spokesperson for the union called the slogan written on the cup "anti-police." Franny Choi, one of the residents handing out coffee outside of the police station, tells ABC6 "We know the police have been very outspoken in their opposition to simple acts of protest, such as writing 'black lives matter' on a cup," and so they wanted to take a stand. Another volunteer, Victoria Ruis, explains that the group is trying to "do outreach" about a measure before the city council that would help curtail "the ramifications of racial profiling in Providence."
The group was hoping that officers would agree to pose with one of the "#blacklivesmatter" cups, but unfortunately they were not successful. Most officers declined the coffee and said that it was "against the rules for them to accept anything for free." Other officers turned down the coffee but accepted the fliers that listed information like, "In 2015 alone, 64 unarmed black people have been killed by the police in the United States." Other officers just the gave the group a thumbs up as they drove by. Watch the local news story below: