SEATTLE — A new sign at a popular Seattle ice cream shop is churning up controversy and leaving a bad taste for law enforcement.
The sign at Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream on Capitol Hill emphasizes the shop is a gun-free zone. In red, it singles out police officers at the top of the sign. It goes on to say, “Please do not come inside if you are wearing a firearm.”
“We have had a very difficult few weeks here on Capitol Hill,” said founder and owner Molly Moon Neitzel.
Neitzel said she decided to put up the sign at her namesake scoop shop, which is located within what used to be the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone, or CHOP, which was taken over by protesters after Seattle police abandoned the East Precinct.
“Last week, as CHOP was being dismantled, and there was a flood of police officers here in the neighborhood, they were intimidating and causing some of my of my black and brown employees to feel unsafe,” explained Neitzel.
The no-gun policy isn’t new. It’s been in place since 2013 when then Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and the anti-gun violence organization Washington CeaseFire launched the Seattle Gun Free Zone program. There are “Gun Free Zone” stickers at Neitzel’s seven other Molly Moon locations. But the Capitol Hill location is the only one that has the new sign that calls out cops.
“I feel it’s divisive rhetoric. I view it as political pandering,” said Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild. He denounced the sign as “unreasonable activism” amid calls to defund the police.
“It’s more divisiveness at a time when we need more unity,” added Solan.
When Neitzel was asked if she’s anti-police, here’s how she answered.
“I am anti the current police system,” said Neitzel. “Yeah, I think we need major police reform.”
At a time when the pandemic has already decimated her business, Neitzel, who has a history of activism, said she realizes her position may further impact her bottom line.
“I am going to be a business person and an activist that continues to speak truth to as I see it,” Neitzel said.
Neitzel said officers are welcome — as long as they don’t have guns. As for how this policy will be enforced, she says it’s up to each worker. But she’s hoping the sign will make it so that they don’t have to.
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