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Somerville Police Union Refuse to Accept Mayor’s Option to Have Both BLM and Police Banner Above City Hall, Stage Protest

A police union in suburban Massachusetts is protesting a mayor’s refusal to remove a “Black Lives Matter” banner from the front of City Hall, even though the city leader has ordered to display a sign honoring slain police officers as well.

According to ABC News, about 50 members and supporters of the Somerville Police Employees Association rallied Thursday evening to demand that Mayor Joe Curtatone remove the “disrespectful” banner. The association represents over 1,500 officers in 26 communities throughout the city and said a public building like Somerville’s City Hall is “no place” for such political expressions.

The banner has been displayed at City Hall since August of last year, but the police union argues that it should be replaced with an “All Lives Matter” banner instead, CBS Boston reports.

“The Somerville Police Employees Association fully endorses the proposition that Black lives matter just as much as white, Asian, and Hispanic, and any others do,” the union wrote in a statement highlighting its grievances. “Similarly, we respect the rights of all American citizens, including those well-intentioned members of the BLM movement, to protest injustice.”

“At the same time, we strongly object to a public banner sponsored by the City that implicitly paints police officers as the killers of innocent citizens of color when there is no evidence whatsoever that the police officers in the City are in anyway using their police powers in a discriminatory or unlawful way,” it continued.

Despite the push back, Mayor Curatone, who is a white Democrat, refused to budge, vowing that the sign would stay up. He insisted that standing up for Black citizens and supporting the police aren’t mutually exclusive. Curatone also said the only way to tackle the dilemma was through an “open dialogue” about race relations.

In an effort to ease opposition to the banner, the mayor also displayed a sign honoring recently slain police officers at the city’s police headquarters. According to Boston’s WCVB, the additional banner hangs over the police headquarters entrance and reads, “In honor and remembrance,” with an image of the Dallas Police Department badge and a black band across it.

“My unwavering support for our police officers does not and cannot preempt our commitment to addressing systemic racism in our nation,” Curatone wrote in a statement of his own. “The City of Somerville stands against all violence and all injustice, which is why a Black Lives Matter banner hangs at City Hall and why a banner in honor of the slain officers is hanging at Somerville Police Headquarters where it would provide the most moral support to our officers—both on my order. Both banners will remain hanging.”

While union president Michael McGrath asserts that the union supports the “core goal” of the Black Lives Matter movement, he also said the BLM banner sends an “exclusionary message” that’s “disrespectful” to law enforcement officials. According to WCVB, many of the predominately white attendees at  Thursday’s rally could be heard chanting “All lives matter!” and “Take it down!” Other demonstrators waved signs that read “Support you local police” and “Cops lives matter.”

The Massachusetts Municipal Police Coalition was also in attendance and helped organize the rally, the Boston Globe reports. Among the officers backing the union was McGrath’s girlfriend, an African-American detective who fears she’ll be demoted for supporting the association’s opposition to the banner. Mayor Curtatone called the notion “absurd,” according to the publication.

As the police rally went on, there was also a Black Lives Matter rally being held in Somerville’s Union Square area. Some of those protesters converged with police demonstrators as their rally ended, holding signs that said “I Agree with Joe,” in reference to the mayor, and “We Will Not Be Silent Until We End Police Violence,” the Boston Globe reports. Somerville resident Roy Pardi, 61, waved a Black Lives Matter sign in support of the banner.

“But that doesn’t mean I don’t support the police,” he said.

What people are saying

7 thoughts on “Somerville Police Union Refuse to Accept Mayor’s Option to Have Both BLM and Police Banner Above City Hall, Stage Protest

  1. Omar M'Sai says:

    Somerville Police Union needs to STFU and do the job that the American people are paying them to do. A banner saying "Black lives matter" is none of their damn business. It has nothing to do with them. It is in no way interfering with or denigrating the work that they are being paid for. It in no way infringes with or threatens their safety or their integrity, if they indeed have any. Feeling that they have to compete with the BLM movement is juvenile and irresponsible. Are they saying that black lives do not matter or that police lives are more important than lack lives? If so, they should turn in their badges immediately and give the jobs to police who support not only all lives but also those lives which are most at peril in this country which just happen to be black lives….

  2. Pam Palmer says:

    Great comment, and I agree wholeheartedly. They act as if everything has to be their way, or NO way, hence the juvenile whining about a BLM banner. Obviously, they do NOT think black people's lives matter one bit, and they NEVER HAVE.

  3. Disrespectful? This proves that these racist whiners have no idea or understanding of what Black Lives Matters is trying to say to America concerning the fact that SOME police officers are murdering and brutalizing Black people without being held responsible.

  4. Luke Tragos says:

    I was in attendance of this event. Most of the police supporters were from out of town. I wonder how many of them knew he has a Negro bedwench.

  5. Jim Kennedy says:

    These are either racist or ignorant cops. They KNOW that Black Lives Matter wants BAD COPS jailed or fired so why are they doing this? Because some of them ARE BAD COPS who don't like civil rights organizations or individual citizens bringing attention to their illegal activities on citizens via cellphones and demonstrations. They have convinced all police departments that we hate ALL cops when they know good and well that we only hate THEM, THE BAD ONES.

  6. Jim Kennedy says:

    You got it, EXCEPT the biggest screams I am sure actually come FROM BAD COPS who do not want their illegal activities monitored by civil rights groups or individuals recording them on cellphones. So just know that. The BAD COPS are the ones who are screaming the loudest.

  7. I thought it was black

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