Northampton, MA – Walmart withdrew its offer to donate $13,000 in old ammunition to the Northampton Police Department that the town’s police chief says was due to “aggressive anti-police rhetoric.”
Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper wrote an email to Mayor David Narkewicz explaining why the retail giant was withdrawing its offer, according to The Republican.
Chief Kasper said that Walmart told one of the police department’s firearm instructors on Sunday that the deal was revoked.
"Walmart was surprised at the pushback related to their intended donation to the City," Kasper wrote in the email, which Narkewicz also sent to City Council President Ryan O'Donnell according to The Republican. "I can't blame them. This donation would have saved the City money, and would have ensured that this unwanted ammunition was used for the critically important purpose of police training."
Chief Kasper also said she was frustrated by “continued pushback” against the police department, according to The Republican.
"Within City Council chambers, matters involving the police department quickly shift to aggressive anti-police rhetoric from a small number of community members," she wrote in the email."Despite our dedication, recognition, and leadership in the field, we continue to experience a growing anti-police narrative in the very community that we serve so well."
One speaker spoke against taking the bullets at a city council meeting,
"This body has said they only have the power of the purse. But if Walmart wants to supply endless guns and ammunition, the power of the purse is worthless," said attorney Dana Goldblatt, according to The Republican. "I don't think these are my values or your values. I would say these are Walmart's values."
Ward Councilor Alisa Klein said the Walmart gesture to give the city bullets couldn’t compare to other types of gifts the city received.
"It's one thing to get a bus to transport children for educational purposes than with bullets, which are used for purposes that can kill people," Klein said, according to The Republican. "And the police do have to come under a particular type of scrutiny because of the power they hold, and the responsibility they have in our community is a particular kind of responsibility."
Narkewicz told O'Donnell that he was withdrawing a resolution to accept the ammunition donation discussed at the council's Dec. 20 meeting. Narkewicz said that he fully supported and endorsed the concerns Chief Kasper raised.