Why a Police PR Stunt to Pull Over People to Give Them Free Ice Cream Won't Make Any Converts

The latest cop fad of cops passing out ice cream to drivers they pull over is probably the worst way to tackle community-police relations. For black and brown Americans, getting pulled over is often terrifying, so there's a sigh of relief when the officer leaves the scene. And free anything in an attempt to quell understandable anxiety is simply out of touch with reality. 

"It’s safe to say that police officers and black people don’t have the same goal and have never particularly had an amicable relationship. And why should we? For black people throughout the country, the fear of police officers is far too real, which is why, within the past two weeks, organizers have protested them and encouraged the disinvestment of the Fraternal Order of Police," Preston Mitchum, a Washington D.C.-based essayist and activist wrote on The Root.

Mitchum, who has been pulled over himself, urges cops nationwide to explore other potential solutions for showing citizens that they are indeed the good guys.

"...any [police] department that is considering stopping people for ice cream instead of figuring out alternatives to killing people—need to consider is the role they play in various communities. The problem is that often, many police officers believe that people trust them," Mitchum wrote.

We can all agree: Most cops do not kill innocent people and free ice cream will not help cops better handle drivers after pulling them over for an actual traffic violation. 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.