Did Target end its shop with a cop program in an effort to distance themselves from the police? No, that's not true: This is a false claim that went viral on social media. The program, branded as "Heroes & Helpers," pairs "public safety officers with in-need youth for a day of holiday shopping." As of July 28, 2020, Target plans to continue the holiday program.
The claim appeared in a post (archived here) published on Facebook on July 25, 2020. It read:
In an effort to distance themselves from Police Officers, Target has cut ties with participating in "Shop with a Cop." So, underprivileged kids can not shop for Christmas gifts because the police ruin Target's image."
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Jul 28 13:43:43 2020 UTC)
The meme cited no source for the false claim.
How the program, which Target calls Heroes and Helpers, will change in response to COVID-19 is not yet known, said a Target spokesperson:
We plan to continue to support children with Heroes & Helpers events across the country this holiday season. Like many of our holiday programs, we're carefully considering how to manage these events during the COVID-19 environment in a way that ensures the health and safety of our team and guests. We will have additional details to share as we approach the holiday season.
This false viral claim comes during ongoing protests against police brutality and racism in the U.S. following the death of George Floyd at the end of May. Protestors in some cities across the nation are requesting that police forces be defunded and the money be reallocated into different approaches to community safety and schools.