Mendota resident Kyle Clark wants to show local police officers his support.
So he organized a Trump/Back the Blue Support Protest scheduled for Saturday in his hometown.
“I really just wanted to round up some family and friends to show our local officers that we appreciate them,” Clark said. “I wasn’t expecting it to have such a turnout. It amazes me the range of support that I have received from across the state and in some cases even further.”
The rally is scheduled for 10 a.m. along Route 251 in Mendota between Subway and the Civic Center. It is the second of its kind in La Salle County this summer.
Back the Blue is a national movement built around generating support for police through community rallies. After George Floyd, a Black man, was killed while in Minneapolis police custody and officers were charged with murder, protests were conducted across the country against police racism and violence. Some of the reaction has resulted in violence against police.
The Facebook page for the event listed 315 people interested in the event and 53 going as of Tuesday afternoon.
Clark said he doesn’t think all police officers should be judged by the actions of a few, and good police officers deserve community support.
“I understand there are undertrained cops and even bad cops out there, but you can’t judge all cops because of a few bad ones – just like judging a group of people because of one bad one,” Clark said. “There are innocent, good cops that are being attacked every day just for being a cop and it’s not right. This senseless violence needs to stop. I want them to know that people still appreciate the fact they put their lives at risk every day to ensure our safety and we know there’s tough decisions to be made. Sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong. They must make these decisions in seconds not minutes and they must live the rest of their lives with the choices they make.
“They need to be reassured that they have the support of their community and that we need them so we can continue to live in peace with our loved ones.”
The event page encourages attendees to bring flags and signs. It also asked participants to keep it civil and not bring alcohol.
“I want this country to unite,” Clark said. “I want peace among its citizens. I want respect across the board. I want people to be able to voice their opinions and beliefs without fear of retaliation. Will it ever happen? I don’t know. But we can continue our efforts to bring the people of this great country together.”