The Cleveland Bagel Company facing backlash for supporting rally to defund police

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The owners of The Cleveland Bagel Company offered more than fresh made bagels this week.

They also showed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and reposted on their Facebook page a flyer promoting a rally to defund police.

The flyer said, “(expletive) yo 4th of July #defundCLEPD rally”. The event is sponsored by Black Lives Matter Cleveland.

“A lot of people were offended about the defund the police movement, but you know, I think people need to be more educated about that because it’s not about totally defunding, it’s about reallocation and reform, and that’s all we were supporting,” said co-owner Geoff Hardman.

But some Clevelanders say the company should stick to making bagels.

“It’s a bagel company honestly and in my opinion to like defund the police, I don’t agree with that,” said Perry Coleman.

But some customers say they have no problem with the owners of the company offering their opinions.

“It doesn’t impact me as a customer one way or another because I love their bagels, so I’m going to still come for these,” said Cole Pesses as he lifted a bag of bagels.

As a result of their support for the rally to be held on Saturday at Luke Easter Park, the owners of the bagel company are facing pushback from police supporters, police officers and their families.

The company’s Facebook page has been flooded with comments, many of them negative. They’ve also received threatening phone calls, and they are getting negative reviews on websites like Yelp.

“We’re getting the brunt of it, but we can take it, we can take the hate,” said Hardman.

Members of the pro law enforcement group “Ohio Going Blue”, are among those criticizing the company’s position.

“This is the United States so if they want to do that, that’s fine. I’m a little disappointed though, due to what I believe is their recent history. You know they have called law enforcement, they do want law enforcement assistance,” said Ohio Going Blue spokesman Justin Sizemore.

But the owners of Cleveland Bagel are standing by their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the Defund the Police rally, even if it means losing customers.

“I mean we have our ideals, we have our stances, we’re going to keep them,” said Geoff Hardman.

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