Crowds gathered on Saturday at the “Pro-Blue Rally” held on Independence Mall, braving the bitter cold and cheering on speakers who urged the nation to appreciate the dangerous work police officers face every day.
According to Philly.com, the event themed “All Lives Matter” was in response to several recent demonstrations around the U.S. protesting the deaths of unarmed black me by white police officers.
Senator Pat Toomey told the crowd that these recent protests about the perceived police brutality “don’t speak for America.”
Toomey called it a “great day to be standing up for our law enforcement officers who protect us day in and day out.” He pointed out that 115 police officers died in the line of duty in the U.S. in 2014 and 10 have already been shot in 2015.
The rally was the first of its kind organized by the Independence Hall Foundation, a year-old organization that “seeks to keep people focused on the founding documents” of the United States.
“I don’t understand how police officers have become the enemy,” said Bob Ballentine, Secretary of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5. “Something’s wrong.” He reminded the couple hundred listeners in the crowd that “we are your neighbors” who “come without fail to protect you.”
The hour long event’s master of ceremonies was radio host Dom Giordano. He belittled lawyers armed with cameras who “follow police around the clock” in order to sue them, and media who propagate “this false narrative that police are engaged in violent, lawless actions.”
There were sixteen speakers overall and they all hailed the message that law enforcement officers are called to approach perils that cause others to flee. They also reminded the public that officers’ small acts of kindness or heroism often go unheralded.
Several officers of the Sixth Police Precinct were present at the rally for possible crowd control. They expressed gratitude for the rally’s message.
“It was wonderful,” said Beverly Duncan, a 17-year veteran. “It was great to see people out to support us.”
“It’s nice,” said 14-year veteran William Greco. “It makes you feel good.”
Rich Davis, founder of the American Sheepdogs, a Chester County patriotic organization, said of police officers, “They’re the firewall that shields the public. They should be honored and revered instead of smeared.”