When someone is making an effort to contribute something to society, it is important that we extend our support to them. However, one store manager disrupted the social cause because of his own personal beliefs.
Timothy Conaway partnered up with the New Britain Police Department to help create a back-to-school fundraiser program in an effort to support the New Britain community.
Conaway, a resident of the Connecticut town and also the co-founder of Training and Motivation Center, which was created in association with the local police force launched their back-to-school fundraiser program almost seven years ago to help ensure children in need get the school supplies they need to have a better education.
On August 8, 2020, Conaway along with two officers arrived at Target in the 400-block of Hartford Road for the fundraiser. The man, who is a long-time resident of New Britain, and the two officers were all set for the “Stuff a Cruiser” event at the Target store. However, what happened next did go as planned.
When they are about to pick up the goods, the manager of the Target location allegedly “kicked out” the cops because he did not support police departments.
Yes, to their surprise, the store manager asked Conaway, and the officers to leave the store. Even after they explained why they were there, the store manager was adamant. He wanted them out.
“I told him I was here last year and he didn’t agree or believe me and he told us to leave. We were shocked. The officers were looking like ‘you really you want us to leave and he said yes.”
The police officers and Conaway were confused and they had no other choice but to leave. They did not wait to argue or create trouble at the store. But they definitely were so much disappointed by the incident that they were turned away when trying to complete a fundraiser for needy children.
When the New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart heard about the way Target treated her cops, the mayor immediately lashed out at the Minneapolis-based retailer on Twitter.
Mayor Erin Stewart said via Twitter:
“So our New Britain Police Department was trying to do their annual back-to-school supply drive, and the Target manager told them to leave because he doesn’t support the police. Does anyone want to make a donation? #newbritain #comeonmana #itsforthekids.”
So our @newbritainpd was trying to do their annual back to school supply drive and the @Target manager told them to leave because he doesn’t support the police. Anyone want to make a donation? #newbritain #comeonman #itsforthekids ?
— Mayor Erin Stewart (@erinstewartct) August 11, 2020
The first person to reply to the mayor’s tweet was New Britain’s Fire Chief Raul Ortiz.
Here’s what Ortiz replied:
“I’ll donate. That is unbelievable. Isn’t community policing and involvement what we want more of? Our NBPD has been exceptional in that aspect.”
Less than an hour after she tweeted about the incident, Target responded by apologizing for the recent incident. The mayor confirmed that the regional manager of the New Britain Target location had called in to express his regret. The mayor also stated that the regional manager even made a personal contribution of $500 to the fundraiser and that he welcomed the volunteers and the police officers to the store for the fundraiser at a convenient date in the future.
Target’s corporate headquarters released a statement on Twitter and called the entire thing a big “misunderstanding.”
“We have a long history of supporting the New Britain community, and we’re sorry for the misunderstanding. We’ve talked with police, and they’re returning to our store this weekend for their back-to-school drive. In addition, Target’s donating school supplies to support the efforts.”
“When our team saw the group collecting donations, and wasn’t aware the drive was going to take place that day, we asked for more information. An officer asked our team if they should leave, and we said yes so we could work with them to coordinate the drive together at another time. We spoke with the New Britain Police Department on Monday and Mayor Stewart’s office on Wednesday to clarify what happened, express our continued support for the school supply drive and arrange for them to come back to the store this weekend. Additionally, our manager did not, at any time during the conversation, express a lack of support for law enforcement. And as we have for many years, we contributed a gift card and school supplies for this great cause. We’re sorry that this situation has caused frustration in the community and took attention away from the supply drive.”
We have a long history of supporting the New Britain community and we’re sorry for the misunderstanding. We’ve talked with police and they’re returning to our store this weekend for their back-to-school drive. In addition, Target’s donating school supplies to support the efforts.
— AskTarget (@AskTarget) August 12, 2020