BOISE, ID- This is outrageous. A coffee shop has been shut down over the Thin Blue Line flag.
Big City Coffee & Cafe was pushed off of Boise State University’s campus after expressing support for law enforcement.
The owner of Big City happens to be engaged to a former officer who endured life threatening injuries in the line of duty, but that didn’t stop an anti-police group BSU students from banning together to derail the small business’s expansion.
Big City has maintained a location in the Linen District in Boise, Idaho for decades. The small business is owned by Sarah Fendley, who has been a proponent of law enforcement her entire life.
Fendley is engaged to former Boise Police Corporal Kevin Holtry. In November of 2016 Holtry was shot five times while on duty in Boise. Holtry’s injuries left him paralyzed and led to the amputation of his leg.
The terrifying reality that Holtry and Fendley endured following the shooting only further solidified Fendley’s support of law enforcement and the Thin Blue Line. The shop owner’s backing of officers is an act of compassion for law enforcement and her own fiancé.
Back in 2016, the small business ignited controversy after hanging a flag that supported police and fire rescue.
Despite being villainized relentlessly by a local Black Lives Matter chapter, Fendley stood strong in her convictions and support for law enforcement.
Now, angry anti-police “activists” are attempting to create more trouble for the coffee shop.
Recently, the pro-police business was given an opportunity to open another cafe on BSU’s campus for the Fall 2020 semester. The coffee shop opened on September 4, 2020 and quickly became known among students for its service and quality. But not all students were happy with Big City.
A break off of BSU Student Association, the “Inclusive Excellence Student Council” (IESC), took issue with Big City’s unapologetic pro-law enforcement stance. In an IESC meeting on October, 7 the five person student group spoke about the presence of Big City on campus.
One student, Alyssa Wainaina, commented that Big City’ support of the Thin Blue Line is problematic:
“There are many local coffee places we could have chosen and I know black people are not comfortable going there. Big City is very supportive of the Thin Blue Line which we know is not supportive of people of color.”
Then, a second IESC member, Em McNay, jumped in to add that the coffee shop isn’t a “safe place”:
“I was upset to see that it was Big City Coffee because I have known for 5+ years that they are not a safe place.”
Later another student, Amanda Hawks, claimed that the BSU’s choice in on campus eateries indicates that the university is unsupportive of Black Lives Matter:
“I agree with everything that has been said. With Chick-Fil-A, BPD, and now Big City Coffee it has sent a message that the campus does not support Black Lives Matter.”
She continued that Big City Coffee being allowed on campus sends “a very harmful message”:
“If there is a way to reverse this decision it should be done. If they come to campus it is sending a very harmful message.”
A university faculty member has also expressed anger toward Big City in the past. BSU Resident Director Jeremy Harper took to Facebook back in 2016 to claim that Big City’s previous Thin Blue Line flag encourages white supremacy:
“This kind of response is only to encourage white supremacy,”
Harper also called for a boycott on the small business:
“If you support equality for black lives, you may want to consider boycotting this company,”
Keep in mind that this all stemmed from Big City Coffee’s discreet support of the Thin Blue Line at their first location, no pro-police symbols are present at the coffee shop on campus. To say a mountain is being made out of a nonexistent molehill is an understatement.
But, it seems that the radical student group and professor were successful in shutting down the coffee company’s BSU location. On Wednesday, a source close to the matter told Law Enforcement Today that university administration ended Big City’s affiliation with the school in a closed door meeting.
The source alleged that, while speaking with BSU’s president, Dr. Marlene Tromp, and other prominent university officials, Fendley was told that it would be best to shut down her coffee shop over the backlash.
The IESC spoke about this decision in another meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Leslie Webb updated members of the club by saying:
“I sent an email a little bit ago that let the group on the email chain know that Big City is no longer a vendor on our campus. That is my update for y’all.”
When asked if the decision to leave campus was made by Big City itself, Webb responded:
“I cannot discuss further about it but I appreciate you asking.”
BSU made a statement on Wednesday regarding Big City leaving campus, but twisted the truth to maintain their innocence. According to BSU the coffee shops departure was their own decision:
“Our students hold a wide range of opinions about this business. After some students began speaking out against the owner’s personal beliefs, we explained that we could not violate the First Amendment Rights of anyone on campus. Following that, the owner requested to be let out of the contract. We agreed to the owner’s request.
Boise State University has heard the community conversation regarding Big City Coffee’s location on campus.
But, this could not be further from the truth, according to LET’s source. Our source tells us that BSU administrators asked Big City to leave following backlash from student groups.
The university’s decision to shut down Big City harms several members of the campus community. Fendley alone is now facing tens of thousands of dollars in losses due to Big City’s abrupt end. The shop owner invested a substantial amount of money on equipment to make the on campus location suitable for service. BSU has not yet stated whether Fendley will be compensated for her lost investments.
But Fendley isn’t the only person feeling the consequences of BSU’s decision. Big City’s BSU location employed 20 female students, who are now all out of a job. Finding and maintaining an on campus job is already incredibly difficult, but doing so in the middle of a pandemic is near impossible. BSU has thrown their own students to the wayside in an attempt to appear politically correct. The university has not yet offered a plans to reimburse student employees for their sudden loss in wages either.
Despite the drastic action by university officials, Fendley refuses to compromise her values to appease their anti-police agenda In a statement on Big City’s Facebook page, Fendley clarified her reasoning for supporting the Thin Blue Line and expressed her unwavering support for law enforcement.
“We are lucky to have such great police, fire and EMS in our community. I support them because they support us. My brother is also a fireman and our younger brother is in the Air Force – service is in our blood and my decision to open on a college campus knowing full well some wouldn’t be happy was outweighed by the opportunity to do something during these past few months…”
I was thrilled to be asked to open. Big City at BSU this fall … not super thrilled it was during a pandemic but it…
Despite Big City Coffee & Cafe no longer being welcome on BSU’s campus, the coffee shop has a bright future and a blossoming business.
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Paralyzed Boise Officer Thankful for Life, Has Hope in Rehab
BOISE, Idaho – A Boise police officer that was shot multiple times during a manhunt for a wanted felon in November was left paralyzed in the shooting, the department revealed.
Cpl. Kevin Holtry, who spoke publicly for the first time via video message at a press conference Monday afternoon, said his left leg also had to be amputated above the knee in the wake of the attack, reported KTVB.
“My spinal cord isn’t completely severed – maybe bruised, I’m not exactly sure the details – but I’m holding onto hope and I really have strong faith that I can get sensation back in my legs, which is a big hope for me,” he said.
Holtry said, he is paralyzed from “about the belly-button down.” He will be transferred to Craig Hospital in Denver, one that specializes in spinal injuries, where extensive rehab awaits.
Holtry will leave Thursday, with a full police escort from Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center to the airport, and from his landing in Colorado to Craig Hospital.
Understandably, the 17-year department veteran was emotional as he spoke about the support, cards, and wishes that poured in from Boise and beyond as he lay in a hospital bed in Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.
“To get this tsunami of love and prayers and well-wishes from people I don’t even know and people who have never put a face to my name, they don’t know who I am – thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” Holtry said. “I know words don’t do it justice. It sounds trivial but I’ve got nothing else at this point to say than that.”
Holtry and another member of the Special Operations Unit were shot Nov. 11 as they searched Boise’s Central Rim neighborhood for 33-year-old Marco Romero. Police say Romero, who had just been released from prison, had opened fire during a party inside a Meridian apartment days earlier, according to KTVB.
They found Romero hiding behind trashcans near a home while conducting a yard-to-yard search.
“We had been tasked with finding a really dangerous man, and we had him locked down into a one-block area,” he said. “We knew he was bad, we knew he was armed. We were looking for him, and we found him.”
Finding Romero led to a gun battle. Romero was shot and killed. Holtry and Cpl. Chris Davis were also hit, and rushed to the hospital. Davis, who was shot through the leg, was released days later.
A six-year-old police K9 named Jardo was also shot, and later died from his injuries.
Holtry thanked his peers, particularly the tactical paramedics embedded with the SWAT team. He credits them with saving his life.
“They were throwing tourniquets on, and IVs, and everything they could do to keep me from dying, and they did,” he said.
He was also deeply appreciative of the staff at St. Al’s who cared for him.
“I can’t say enough, and give enough thanks to them for what they did as well to save my life, and keep me able to see my daughters each day, and my mom and dad, and the people I love in my life,” he said.
After discussing Holtry’s extensive rehab that lies ahead, Deputy Chief Eugene Smith said, “Kevin Holtry is a Boise police officer, will be a Boise police officer, and we intend to keep him as a Boise police officer as long as he desires.”
(Photo’s courtesy of the Boise Police Department)
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