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American News Dec 16, 2021 11:08 AM EST

Retailers who supported defunding police now demand action from Congress amid smash-and-grab crime surge

"These woke companies made their bed, now they can sleep in it," Rep. Paul Gosar said.

Retailers who supported defunding police now demand action from Congress amid smash-and-grab crime surge
Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

In a letter sent by the Retail Industry Leaders Association last week urging Congress to help businesses amidst an increase in smash-and grab robberies across the country, nearly two dozen CEOs and other business leaders signed onto the letter.

Many of these businesses have been revealed to have funded groups looking to defund the police last year, which has contributed to the climate that has allowed for these brazen robberies about which they are now complaining, according to Fox News.

"Leading retailers are concerned about the growing impact organized retail crime is having on the communities we proudly serve," the letter, which was sent by the Retail Industry Leaders Association to Congress last week reads, expressing support for and the necessity of the INFORM Consumers Act.

"This important legislation will modernize our consumer protection laws to safeguard families and communities from the sale of illicit products and we urge its quick passage."

Signing onto this letter were the chiefs of Target, Nordstrom, Levi Strauss, Ulta Beauty, Home Depot, and many more.

These businesses were revealed to have made large donations to groups supporting defunding the police, or expressing explicit support for the organizations.

In response to the letter to Congress, some Congress members balked at the business leaders' requests, stating the companies should deal with the consequences of their actions.

"Help them directly? Hell No. They should be ashamed of themselves," Republican Texas Rep. Chip Roy told Fox News on Tuesday.

"The days of crony capitalism are about to come to an end. But unlike the unprincipled woke corporations bowing down to the altar of so-called 'environmental, social, and governance' (ESG) investment to enrich themselves, I will always fight for the rule of law, which will help everyone — including them," Roy added.

"These woke companies made their bed, now they can sleep in it," Rep. Paul Gosar told Fox News on Wednesday, stating that he would not support congressional efforts to assist retailers that "backed BLM during their 'summer of love protests' and efforts to defund the police."

"This is what happens to the woke, they reap what they sow. What did they expect would happen?" He added.

In the example of Nordstrom, which has seem some of the largest smash-and-grab robberies in the country that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages and stolen merchandise, CEO Erik B. Nordstrom signed the letter, but had expressed earlier this year support for Black Lives Matter, which advocates for police defunding.

In a January press release, Nordstrom announced that it would it reaffirm its "commitment to advance diversity, inclusion, belonging" during Black History Month through a number of means including "supporting the important work of nonprofit organizations including" the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, who was key in last summer's protests and riots.

In 2020, Target announced "A $10 million investment from Target and the Target Foundation to support long-standing partners such as the National Urban League," among other commitments, to "advance social justice." The CEO of Target, Brian Cornell, signed the RILA letter.

The National Urban League states on its website that it has "21 Pillars" on "comprehensive and realistic reform and accountability," including to "collaborate with communities to re-envision public safety" and "change divisive policing policies."

Denim brand Levi Strauss & Co announced in June of last year, following the death of George Floyd that became the catalyst for last summer's unrest, that they would be making a "$100,000 donation to longstanding partner, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for its critical work on criminal justice reform and racial justice." The CEO of Levi Strauss & Co, Charles Bergh, signed the letter to Congress.

The ACLU calls itself the "nation's guardian of liberty," but police leaders on the West Coast told Fox News that the organization is to blame for the spike in smash-and-grab robberies.

"All one has to do is log onto www.ACLU-watch.com and click a category such as 'Sexual Offenders,' 'Weakening Public Safety' or 'Dangerous Bail Reform' to see exactly how this organization has contributed to the crime wave enveloping our nation," Mike Solan, President of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, told Fox News Digital on Tuesday.

"Many in corporate America have blindly supported the ACLU, maybe not realizing the devastating impact their policies are having on our safety. I would be interested to hear why some corporations are supporting the weakening of rights of rape victims or releasing repeat offenders out on bail to harm again because that is what the ACLU has been fighting for."

The ACLU was also a proponent of California's Proposition 47, which passed in 2014, The proposition reduced the reduced shoplifting charges regarding the theft of $950 or less from felonies to misdemeanors.

Home Depot pledged $1 million to the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, "which has taken issue with bail laws in the US," according to Fox News. The CEO of Home Depot, Craig Meaner, signed the RILA letter.

Fox News reports: "The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law was established in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy, and outlines under its criminal justice web page that it works "to challenge racial disparities within the criminal justice system that result from the criminalization of poverty and contribute to mass incarceration."

The nonpartisan group adds that "pretrial practices that rely on 'money bail' and formulaic rather than individualized bail determinations" disproportionately incarcerates people of color."

Ulta Beauty announced shortly after the death of George Floyd that it would be donating to the Equal Justice Initiative. The CEO of Ulta, David Kimbell, signed the letter to Congress.

The Equal Justice Initiative says on its website that "tough on crime" policies have led to mass incarceration "rooted in the belief that Black and brown people are inherently guilty and dangerous."

The group also advocates for the reallocations of "funds from traditional policing to services that promote public safety."

Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson told the New Yorker in 2020 that historically, "police have been the face of oppression in many ways" and said - just as protests and riots began forming in late May of 2020 -  "we have created a culture that allows our police departments to see themselves as agents of control, and that culture has to shift."

"An Ulta spokesperson told Fox News Wednesday that the company is proud of its work with EJI and its commitment to end mass incarceration and excessive punishment, among other issues," according to Fox News.

"As a values-based company, we believe in doing what's right. As such, we support both the INFORM Act and EJI as they stand for safety and equality, two longstanding priorities at Ulta Beauty," the statement added.



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