On Tuesday, McDonald’s denied participating in a campaign called “Three Strikes, You’re In!” that rewarded New Yorkers who have been victims of NYPD’s stop and frisk policies with a Happy Meal. The parody campaign identified itself as a partnership between the NYPD and McDonald’s 365Black campaign that highlights the corporation’s work in the African American community.
“The site has been taken down—the campaign was fabricated and McDonald’s is not participating in this program with the NYPD,” Beletra Atwaters, a McDonald’s representative told Colorlines.com on Tuesday afternoon.
A “Three Strikes, You’re In!” representative who identified as Terry Malloy told Colorlines the campaign was launched because “the police department knows that the vast majority of those who are stopped are innocent and we just wanna give back. This is a no-brainer.”
“It’s a very serious problem. To be stopped by policemen is a very tramatic experience,” Malloy went on to say Tuesday morning before his site was taken down. “This is a chance to soothe that bruised ego and give them a Happy Meal.”
Below is the press release the parody campaign sent to Colorlines—published in it’s entirety below:
McDonald’s and the New York Police Department are launching “Three Strikes, You’re In!,” a bold new program that rewards New Yorkers for their patience with the NYPD’s “Stop and Frisk” policy.
With “Three Strikes, You’re In!,” individuals who are stopped and released three times without charge are eligible for one Happy Meal at participating McDonald’s stores. To receive their Happy Meal , customers must record each stopping officer’s badge number, as well as the the time and location of the stop, on a voucher obtainable at these stores.
“This is just one way McDonald’s gives back to the communities we’re a part of,” said Mark Ramos, a McDonald’s spokesperson. “We’re proud to provide copious, satisfying, affordable food in areas that other chains don’t dare operate. With ‘Three Strikes, You’re In!’ we’re showing we also recognize these communities’ safety and civil liberties problems.”
“‘Stop and Frisk’ gets dozens of guns off the streets each year, makes respectable citizens feel secure, and lets would-be criminals know that we’re watching them,” said New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. “It generates some resentment in these low-income communities, since most of those stopped are innocent, but with the help of McDonald’s, we’re showing we understand. We can’t afford to change ‘Stop and Frisk,’ but we’re happy to compensate those who are stopped in the course of keeping the City safe.”
“Three Strikes, You’re In!” is a project of McDonald’s 365Black.com, which celebrates African American culture and achievements all year round. To download your own “Three Strikes, You’re In!” vouchers, please visit www.threestrikesyourein.org. Non-citizens and those with criminal records are ineligible.
New data released to the City Council by the NYPD last month revealed the highest number of stop and frisk stops to date - 684,330 in 2011 alone. Eighty-seven percent of those stopped in 2011 were Black or Latino, and the low rates of correlation between stops and actual arrests persist: nine out of ten persons stopped were not arrested, nor did they receive summonses.