After weeks of anti-police protests, advocates for the New York Police Department are planning a rally to show their support for the NYPD, which has come under fire in the wake of the Eric Garner decision.
A group of NYPD supporters have launched a Facebook page called “Thank You NYPD,” which they’ve peppered with messages like “Blue Lives Matter” and “Police Lives Matter.” The phrases are a response to the chant “Black lives matter,” a common refrain at the recent protests. And on December 10 they announced a planned rally for December 19 at 5 p.m. in front of City Hall.
In a Facebook message to a Voice reporter, an organizer for the rally asked to remain anonymous, adding that the group is made up not of police officers but “citizens who appreciate the safety that the NYPD provides our great city. Ten million people policed by 35,000 officers is one hell of a task to handle.”
— cindychapmansantora (@ladyandtramp450) December 11, 2014
The event is not meant to be a counter-protest to the current, near daily, actions from local activists in response to the police-inflicted deaths of Eric Garner and Akai Gurley in New York and Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. According to the organizer, “this is just a support group for the 35,000 men and women who are doing their very best to keep this city in order,” the organizer said. “This city is nothing like it used to be.”
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The planned rally is already drawing criticism from activists who have been demonstrating against the NYPD since December 4, the day the Garner decision was announced. The event, which was announced on the group’s Facebook page on December 10, received so much backlash online that organizers created a new event page just a few hours later with the comments disabled. This was in order to, as one organizer put it, “keep out the trolls…who look to do nothing productive but to disrupt society.”
Some activists have continued to post on Thank You NYPD’s main Facebook page, which still has user comments activated. Says one:
You people, crawling to lick the boots of authority after they’ve just murdered a black man in plain view, on video, so there can be no doubt about what happened, make me violently sick.
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On a Facebook page hosted by the People’s Power Assembly, activists were already planning to “troll the NYPD supporters” and “break their spirit.” Some users were making plans to crash the pro-police rally. “We will not be silenced,” said one commenter. “We are watching. The whole world is watching.”
Thank You NYPD is also planning other activities in support of the embattled police department, including sending thank-you cards to police precincts, particularly those in Staten Island, where Garner was killed.