Downtown Austin bike shop cancels Austin Police contract

Talk 1370 Newsroom
August 05, 2020 - 10:43 pm
Austin Police bicycles

Jay Janner/American-Statesman-via USA TODAY NETWORK

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AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Saying that "businesses can no longer be non-participants in the communities they serve," Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop has canceled its city contract to sell and service police-issue bicycles to the Austin Police Department.

The bike shop, co-owned by former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong, confirmed the move Wednesday evening in a post on their Facebook page.

"We chose what we think will do the most to suture these divides and place our community on the right side of history," the statement said. "We have had to make these choices before when we felt companies whose products we sold put kids at schools at risk of violence. We lost sales due to this choice. We also saw our former vendors later divest of holdings and we've returned to selling these products. We will live with the choices our customers make if they want to buy bikes and bike products somewhere else."

The $314,000 contract was approved by City Council in October 2019, calling for APD to purchase 40 bikes a year over five years.

The controversy began Tuesday when APD officer Christopher Carlisle called out the bike shop on Facebook, in a since-deleted post. "Today I received a call from the sales manager I have worked with for years at MJ’s," Carlisle wrote. "He informed me that they have three employees who work for them that are complaining about providing bikes to the police department in this time of social unrest in protests and disturbances. They stated to ownership that they did not like the fact that we use bicycles to help us manage crowds and crowd movement."

Mellow Johnny's ended its statement emphasizing they're not anti-police. "We do believe our local police force will protect us from the very threats we are receiving right now."

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