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A short Facebook post is innocent.

The Grapevine Police Department thanked a local company for giving its staff a pizza party, adding that it was “blessed to have their support and encouragement.”

But the gift, made by Christian conservative cellphone company Patriot Mobile, sparked outrage on social media, with people calling on the department to return it.

Grapevine police announced Saturday that they will not accept a Cane Rosso gift certificate and will instead donate it to an organization in need. The amount of the certificate was not immediately clear.

“We are not questioning the donor’s beliefs, we are simply expressing our gratitude,” the department wrote in a follow-up post. “In this case, however, the donation evoked deep emotions.”

Patriot Mobile, which describes itself as “America’s only Christian conservative wireless provider,” has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting like-minded candidates in recent Tarrant County suburban school board races.

Last spring, the company’s political action committee sent thousands of political letters accusing school board members of endangering students with critical race theory and other “woke” ideas about gender and race.

All 11 Patriot Mobile-backed candidates won their races in four school districts: Grapevine-Colleyville, Southlake, Keller and Mansfield.

“If we lose Tarrant County, we lose Texas,” said Jenny Storey, Patriot Mobile’s chief operating officer. The New York Times. “If we lose Texas, we lose the country.”

But some accuse the Grapevine-based company of driving a wedge into communities and once-sleepy school boards. And over the weekend, many expressed disappointment with the police department for accepting the gift in the first place.

“Why do you think it’s appropriate to associate with a group like Patriot Mobile?” wrote Grapevine resident Jane Boyd. “I am absolutely amazed. Not a good look for grapevine PD. So much for a fair and just police force.”

However, some said Grapevine police should have accepted the pizza and that the organization’s policy should not matter.

“Pretty carefree,” one person wrote. “How sad that a simple act of kindness is so misinterpreted.”

Patriot Mobile did not respond to a request for comment Sunday.

Grapevine police said in a statement that they are reevaluating their policy on how they receive donations.

“Our community deserves to be heard, and we want you to know we are,” the department wrote. “Please know that our actions were not intended to create distrust, and we promise to do better moving forward.”


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