A Central Pennsylvania city stands divided, seemingly by doughnuts, the layers deep and not so sweet to those who've felt the sting of controversial ads a pro-President Trump baker has cooked up.
The York Police Department recently filmed a lip-sync challenge, where officers mouth words to popular songs to one-up other police departments across the country. Their plot involved a stolen doughnut truck; their song, "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor. The York video was supposed to premiere last Saturday night at a minor league baseball game in town, where the department hoped to raise money.
"We made fun of ourselves, the whole cops-and-doughnuts thing," said Jeremy Mayer, a York detective and president of the Fraternal Order of Police White Rose Lodge there. "We're normal people, just like you."
The video includes detectives interrogating an inflatable doughnut and another detective who tastes the evidence — a jelly doughnut — at a crime scene behind a Maple Donuts location.
"Nobody's stealing doughnuts in my city," an officer says in the video before putting his cruiser into gear.
Maple Donuts, founded in 1946 in York, is known in the community for its politically charged and often controversial advertisements. Last year, owner Charlie Burnside put up a billboard that read, "Maple Donuts takes a stand, not a knee," in reference to NFL protests.
"That's not even humorous," said York Mayor Michael Helfrich. "There's no humor in it."
When Helfrich, a Democrat, learned that Maple Donuts was featured prominently in the video, he said, "Hell no," and pulled it, fearing it would be seen as divisive by black and Hispanic residents in the city.
"I did not make my decision because of his decision to support Trump," Helfrich said. "This affiliation between our police department and a business that has a certain reputation does not bring people closer."
Sandra Thompson, president of the York chapter of the NAACP, met with Helfrich Tuesday night to discuss the video, which is available on Vimeo and is spreading through the city.
Helfrich said he already has spoken to Latinos Unidos in York.
While the video may not contain offensive material, Thompson said, the presence and prominence of Maple Donuts is problematic.
"They [Maple Donuts] are not shy about expressing their opinions publicly, which is their right to do so. They make their positions widely known, and their positions continue to marginalize the voices of black and brown people," Thompson said. "There's a school of thought that says it's a nice video, and most of those people who think that are neither black or brown."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 27 percent of York's population is black and 31 percent identify as Hispanic. Thompson said the police department does not reflect the diversity of the community.
York's police department had 98 officers as of May. Four are black, three are Hispanic, and three more are females. Helfrich said just one of those officers lives in the city of 44,000.
"I am disappointed in the disconnect," he said, "that no one producing this, no one participating in it, said, 'Wait a minute, don't you know this company is very divisive in this city?'
The York chapter of the NAACP, in a statement released after the meeting with Helfrich, called for more diversity and cultural sensitivity training with city department heads along with stricter control of "media" coming out of city offices.
Burnside put up billboards that read "O.J. is Free! with every dozen donuts" in both 1994 and 2007, when former O.J. Simpson was arrested. He believes everything's been blown out of proportion.
"If you can capitalize on something, you do it," Burnside said on Tuesday morning. "I didn't go to school for advertising."
Burnside has also erected MAGA banners and Trump flags at Maple Donuts' four locations. He has made a Trump doughnut.
"I'm a conservative. I'm pro-Trump, and I always have been," he said. "I'm for the police department, I'm for the United States, and I'm for the flag. I'm glad to be an American."
Burnside said he was asked to supply a doughnut truck and a driver for the Aug. 21 video recording.
"We give free coffee to any police officer who comes through the door," he said.
The York Revolution, an unaffiliated minor league baseball team, said it deferred to the mayor and his ruling that the video was not authorized. Mayer, of the FOP, said $5,000 was raised at the game for the city's motorcycle unit.
He said his members were "confused to how it's gotten to this."
"It' s the old adage," he said, "of making a mountain out of a molehill."
Sue Adams, the video's director, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday, but told Fox 43 that no one thought the video was political.