About 50 pro-police supporters turned out for an afternoon rally yesterday in front of Anaheim City Hall, many wearing blue shirts and holding signs that read "Police Lives Matter," "Thank You" and "Enough is Enough!" Anaheim Hills resident Tammy Santangelo organized the event as a followup to a similar one held on December 28 in support of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), where she worked until 2013.
"We're here basically to show our support for law enforcement, not only here but throughout the nation," Santangelo told the Weekly. "It's nothing political--just a simple 'Thank you' saying we back the badge."
Because a statement like that ain't political at all.
Atop the steps of City Hall, a table offered free "Team Anaheim Our Heroes" shirts, of which one was offered to this reporter, with an American flag and Anaheim police patrol car design--leftover pro-cop swag from the July 2012 riot days. Off-duty LAPD, Anaheim officers and OC sheriff deputies showed up to the rally.
Though ruthlessly smeared by the Anaheim Police Association (APA) and Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office last election, Mayor Tom Tait, too, made an appearance.
The #PoliceLivesMatter rally kept a low profile towards the lead-up to the event. No counter-protesters nor media were present save for this faithful fishwrap and the echo chamber APD Behind the Badge blog. Sneaky, sneaky!
"We did a thin blue line and then we marched," Santangelo said. "A lot of the police officers that risk their lives day-in and day-out, that put that uniform on, when they say goodbye to their kids in the morning they don't know if they will come back."
The group walked down Center Street Promenade to supportive honks, thumbs up and, according to Santangelo, a single one-finger salute.
With the #BlackLivesMatter movement protesting police brutality throughout the nation yesterday's rally can't really escape its apolitical billing. "I believe that all lives matter," Santangelo says in contrast.
"The stuff that's happening across the nation with Ferguson, I think there's so much disrespect where [protesters] are spitting in officers faces."
She did, however, acknowledge that not all cops are saintly. "Okay, there could be one, here and there," she painstakingly said of problem police. "No one's perfect in any occupation, right?"
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As the rally neared its end around 3 p.m., a smattering of police accountability activists arrived. "Here comes the counter-protesters!" a man laughingly blurted out. He wore a black shirt reading "Breathe Easy," a swipe at "I can't breathe," Eric Garner's last words turned slogan when choked to death by a New York policeman in Staten Island.
Stay classy, OC!
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2