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Defying defund the police movement, these companies are backing the blue

Here are a few companies who have stepped up to defend law enforcement.

Updated: July 14, 2020 - 11:23pm

The killing of George Floyd in May while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers has set off a wave of protests and a movement to defunding the police.

However, amid the push by many corporations vowing to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement, some CEOs and business figures have stepped up to defend the police, even as public support for police has at times led to social backlash and buying boycotts.

Here are a few companies who have stood up and are backing the blue.

Ford: Last week, some employees of Ford wrote an open letter to CEO Jim Hackett to stop production of the law enforcement vehicles, including the Ford Police Interceptor. But Hackett refused to stop operations of law enforcement vehicles it’s been producing for nearly 70 years. In a statement to the employees, he said he did not view the production and distribution of police vehicles as an addition to the defund the police conversation, saying it is not "controversial that the Ford Police Interceptor helps officers do their job."

Axon: The technology company that supplies police with nonlethal weapons, such as tasers, defends its continued production of weapons. Hadi Partovi, a director on Axon's board, said in a statement that the company is helping the public with the types of weapons it produces. "The transparency and accountability provided by bodycams aren’t magical solutions to prevent deaths, but they do give a clearer picture of what happened." Axon is also calling for more innovation and technology to stop police brutality.

Égard Watches: In June, a Los Angeles-based luxury watch company released a pro-law enforcement ad that showed police and a dog rescue. Company CEO lan Srulovicz said he did the ad because he felt like "our politicians, the media, companies around the country, they turned their back on police."

Chick-Fil-A: In June, the fast-food restaurant was under fire after some chains distributed shirts supporting the pro-law enforcement organization Blue Lives Matter. The company issued a statement that the individual statements did not reflect the entirety of the company, however it said it did endorse the efforts. Local establishments on multiple occasions over the years have created shirts expressing support, including shirts saying “Back the Blue.”

Five Guys: After three police officers were denied service at a Five Guys restaurant in Daphne, Ala., the company said that it had fired some of the employees and others would receive additional training. "Five Guys and the Daphne, AL franchise want to thank the Daphne Police Department for their support in working together toward a resolution," the Five Guys statement said. "As we uphold our commitment to fair, respectful, and equal treatment for all customers, please know that the actions and sentiments of a few employees in Daphne, AL do not represent Five Guys or the local franchisee."

Google: An employee petition requesting that Google leadership ban police from using Google products received over 1,100 signatures. The CEO issued a statement condemning racial injustice, but said products such as Gmail, Google Suit, and Google Cloud Platform would remain available to all.

NASCAR: After banning confederate memorabilia from the races, NASCAR has allowed one of its drivers to express her support for law enforcement. For a race at the Kentucky Speedway, Angela Ruch’s truck will feature a pro-police wrap. The car will feature the American flag with the blue line designed for police officers and the BackTheBlue hashtag, among other supportive displays. Ruch is partnering with The Wounded Blue, an organization supporting police officers wounded in the line of duty. "Everywhere you turn today, good, hard-working police officers are under attack," Ruch said. "We want to show law enforcement officers that we’ve got their backs."