Long Island’s Nassau County certainly isn’t New York City, but it’s close enough that any sort of pushback on the current defund-the-police chic is news.
That’s even more true when that pushback involves well over a thousand people in one of the largest “Back the Blue” rallies in the United States.
According to the Long Island Press, the rally at East Meadow, New York’s Eisenhower Park on Saturday drew “a sea of more than 1,000 people holding ‘thin blue line’ and American flags” and featured a speech from the daughter of a slain New York Police Department officer who was allegedly killed simply for being a police officer.
The event was sponsored by Law Enforcement Officers Weekend — a non-profit group that supports the families of law enforcement officers who die or are seriously injured in the line of duty — and drew attendees from the community, pro-police groups and police departments from Long Island and New York City.
Nassau County Police Benevolent Association President James McDermott pushed back against the protesters and critics who say police in Nassau County have discrimination issues.
“We don’t have these problems here in Nassau County,” McDermott said.
“We have tremendous relationships in all communities, including the minority communities, and they trust us and we worked on that. We fostered these relationships.”
— Rich NY/Vet. (@NYArmyVet47) July 26, 2020
McDermott also said that county leadership had “abandoned” police officers for failing to stand up for them “day in, day out.”
Genesis Familia, the daughter of NYPD Detective Miosotis Familia, was the most prominent speaker at the event.
Detective Familia was killed in 2017 in a mobile command unit in the Bronx by a man who had ranted on Facebook about the police.
“I’m not playing, Mr. Officer. I don’t care about 100 police watching this,” Alexander Bonds said in a 2016 video. “It’s time for people to wisen up.”
Then-NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said Familia was “murdered for her uniform and for the responsibility she embraced,” according to The New York Times.
On Saturday, Genesis Familia saluted police officers who give “so much for their friends and family and to protect New Yorkers.”
“[Miosotis] was an amazing human being and she was taken from me and those that loved her and that knew her for the blue uniform that she proudly wore,” Familia said.
“And I just want all Americans to remember that all these cops out here protecting us are human beings with families and friends and loved ones who need them to come home.”
An attempted counter-protest by Black White Brown United and Long Island Peaceful Protesters fell flat, with only several dozen showing up.
“Once moved by Nassau police officers to a designated ‘free speech area’ nearby, numerous attendees of the rally went to confront the protesters, including several who evaded police officers attempting to separate the groups,” the Long Island Press reported.
Back The Blue Rally on Long Island Today. Thousands in Attendance. The Media Won’t Show You This. Retweet the Hell Out of It! #Patriots #BackTheBlue #BlueLivesMatters #Trump2020 #KeepAmericaGreat2020 #KAG2020 #WWG1WGA #SilentMajority #SilentMajorityRising pic.twitter.com/u7uX91OFRH
— Captain Daydream (@CapitanDaydream) July 25, 2020
“We came here to make sure that as much as you [pro-police supporters] love law enforcement, that you love your minorities in this country as well,” said Matthew Williams of Black White Brown United. “That’s our goal to make sure if you guys are so passionate about a uniform you can be just as passionate about a life in this country.”
That’s great messaging at a rally in which the most prominent speaker is the daughter of a minority woman killed because she was a police officer. This one might have been thought out better.
The rally in East Meadow was the third on Long Island in support of police. Earlier in the month, over 1,000 people showed up in Wantagh for a “Back the Blue” rally, according to Patch.
Proud to support our Police ! Protect the blue PEACEFUL march in Wantagh !
“We feel the police have been vilified and wrongly so. Statistics have been bent,” said retired homicide detective Robert Hines. “We believe a lot of what you see in here today is not correctly reported.”
No, none of these rallies were going to match the crowds for the Black Lives Matter rallies. Those, however, were in support of a cause that was massively popular in the media.
Support for law enforcement is decidedly unpopular at the moment — something that, given the political environment, could be enough to call into question someone’s moral compass.
All the more credit, then, to the men and women who showed up to these protests and made it clear enforcing our laws in a fair and just manner can still garner support close to New York City — even if it isn’t a favored cause at the moment.
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