Jan 18, 2023 - News

Grapevine police reject Patriot Mobile's pizza gift

The tweet that launched 1,000 complaints. Tweet: Grapevine Police

The Grapevine Police Department has received criticism from both ends of the political spectrum after accepting — and then agreeing to donate — a gift certificate for a pizza party given to them by the Christian conservative Patriot Mobile cellphone company.

Why it matters: While police departments regularly accept food from local businesses — and thank those companies on social media — Patriot Mobile has made headlines over the last year because of the way the company's political arm has helped reshape several local school boards.

What happened: Last week, Grapevine police publicly thanked its "friends" at Patriot Mobile for presenting the department with a $1,500 gift certificate to Cane Rosso.

  • After the department was criticized for associating with Patriot Mobile, it announced that it would donate the gift certificate to a "true need," without getting more specific.
  • "Our actions were not intended to create distrust, and we vow to do better moving forward," Grapevine police said in a statement.
  • Now the department is receiving criticism from conservatives who think the police caved to liberals.

The other side: "The city of Grapevine took a knee by rescinding their thank you," Patriot Mobile Action executive director Leigh Wambsganss tells Axios.

Catch up fast: Patriot Mobile Action, the company's political action committee, spent more than $750,000 backing 11 school board candidates running in Southlake, Grapevine-Colleyville, Keller, and Mansfield — all of whom won their races.

  • Several of those districts have since adopted strict policies related to classroom reading material and pronoun usage.
  • The company has also been open about its plans to do the same thing in other districts around the state — and eventually nationwide.
  • "Ultimately we want to expand to other counties, other states, and be in every state across the nation," Wambsganss told conservative talk show host Mark Davis last summer.

What's next: "We are going to re-evaluate how we receive donations in the future, and we will remain open, and transparent, in how we do so," the Grapevine police said.


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