Police officers in Laredo, Texas, have been handing out Thanksgiving turkeys to people they’ve caught speeding in a goodwill gesture to the community. But some people on social media have serious misgivings about the whole thing.
A nonprofit police organization called Operation Peacemaker, comprised of Laredo police officers and dedicated to assisting law enforcement and their families "during times of need," helped deliver the turkeys to area drivers who violated minor traffic laws.
The video released by the Laredo police department shows many drivers being nervous at first but then happily surprised with a turkey, lavishing officers with praise and thanks after doing so. But it was that initial reaction that made some people unhappy on social media.
Stop doing this.— 5'7 Black Male (@absurdistwords) November 18, 2017
This is not cute. Its subverting oppressive behavior for public relations purposes https://t.co/s8aS2degKa
This gag doesn't work without first instilling fear or anxiety in a person and then capitalizing on their relief when they discover there is no danger.— 5'7 Black Male (@absurdistwords) November 18, 2017
Some individuals might respond to these criticisms with skepticism. After all, giving away a free Thanksgiving turkey is a great way for police to connect to the community they serve.
And there is no doubt that the intention was pure on the part of the police officers delivering the turkeys. But the criticisms are warranted, especially since at least 880 citizens have been killed by police officers in 2017 alone, a rate that is on pace to go above 2016’s totals.
Being pulled over is never a situation you want to find yourself in. It can be nerve-wracking, and the sense of relief that these individuals got after they received their turkeys is likely genuine. But instead of stressing people out by pulling them over, perhaps the Laredo police department ought to consider a different means of community outreach.