Protesters demand Enterprise use profits from prison commissaries for communities in need

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CLAYTON, MO (KTVI) – The day after the anniversary of the Michael Brown shooting death protestors marched on one of St. Louis’ largest companies.  They are upset with Enterprise Holdings because one of the businesses it owns.  Most people know Enterprise for its car rental business but demonstrators say it also owns a company called Keefe group that operates commissaries in prison across the United States.

A woman who would only give her first name as Basin said, “Today were targeting Enterprise who has been profiting from the incarcerated people and their families.”  About 75 protestors gathered in Shaw Park at 4 p.m. Monday afternoon.

They marched down Brentwood to Enterprise Headquarters. They blocked traffic going southbound and received a police escort.  At one point they shut down an intersection for a short time. The group said Keefe overcharges in its commissaries for things like chips, ramen noodles and phone calls.  Protestor Alice Thomas said, “I think it’s unconscionable nothing in my religion teaches me that the way to treat people.”

A former inmate, Andre Anderson, was on hand to make sure that people in prison are not forgotten.  He said, “I’m out here to speak for them so hopefully that the company will realize those incarcerated don’t have a voice they do have a voice now.”

For its part Enterprise said in a statement that the protestors chose the wrong target.  The company said Enterprise and the Taylor family have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to educational, historical and cultural organizations over the years.  Employees have also given many volunteer hours to make the community better.

One demonstrator presented and Enterprise employee with chips, noodles and a bag of fake money. Demonstrators want Enterprise to give one percent of its profits from the prison business to communities in need.

Enterprise said it recently donated $20 million to improve educational opportunities for educational opportunities for young people in under-served neighborhoods.