Hundreds of police officers and their supporters gathered in downtown Miami Monday evening in a show of support to two murdered NYPD officers and those who put their lives on the line every day.
“To give police the encouragement that they need because they just feel like everyone is against them at this time,” said supporter, Barbara Saud.
Rally organizers said they held the event to support police officers everywhere. Officer Rigo Olivera of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police said he was tired of police officers being “victimized.”
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“Enough is enough with police officers,” Olivera said. “We are being victimized and we need it to stop. We are here to protect people.
The rally is part of a nation-wide movement calling for an end to violence toward police. Supporters were asked to show up wearing blue shirts or NYPD shirts, after two officers in New York were gunned down in their patrol car last week.
It comes after several incidents that saw police shoot and kill unarmed men and not face any repercussions. The protests of questionable police tactics accelerated after the state of New York declined to prosecute an officer who held a suspect in a choke hold until he died.
During the Monday rally, the crowd that gathered left luminaries along the way, one for each of the more than 750 law enforcement workers that have been killed in the line of duty. Organizers hope the rally will inspire other cities to follow suit.
“I do believe in a peaceful protest,” said Detective Jerry Dellamico of Miami Police. “I think that everybody has their right to express their opinion peacefully and that’s what we’re here to do tonight.”
Monday’s rally drew officers from all across the southern part of Florida and some from even as far away as Texas.
Later this week, a further show of support is expected as people are being encouraged to replace their front porch light with blue bulbs to show their support to law enforcement officers.