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'We Back Blue' Marchers Rally In Support Of Kansas City Police

091220_cm_webackblue3_carlos moreno
Carlos Moreno
Marchers crowd the sidewalk on the west side of Main Street on Saturday to demonstrate their support for police in a rally sponsored by We Back Blue.

The We Back Blue marchers took to the sidewalk around noon, walking behind an ATV adorned with flags and signs that led them on the mile-long course to police headquarters.

Marchers demonstrated their support for police on Saturday during a mile-long walk in Kansas City promoted by We Back Blue, a national organization supporting law enforcement.

About 140 people waved signs and thin-blue-line flags and carried photos of fallen officers as they marched from Washington Square Park to police headquarters downtown in a peaceful but animated procession.

Melissa Robey, the founder of We Black Blue, said the purpose of the march was simply “supporting our men and women in uniform.”

Robey said she was inspired by her sister, who is in law enforcement. But when she saw retired police officer David Dorn killed in St. Louis, she said she was motivated to become active.

Carlos Moreno/KCUR 89.3
Kendra Greenwood adds her name to a thin blue line flag that was signed by marchers Saturday. The flag was later given to the wife of slain police officer David Dorn at the culmination of the rally on the steps of Kansas City police headquarters.

“We want to make sure they are supported,” Robey said. “They’re retiring in rapid numbers, they’re fed up and having a really tough time.”

The march was the 23rd of its kind since the organization launched events in major cities after Dorn was killed in late August.

The march followed recent protests against police brutality, demands by local civil rights groups for the resignation of Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith and local control of the police department.

The We Back Blue marchers took to the sidewalk around noon, walking behind an ATV adorned with flags and signs that led them on the mile-long course to police headquarters, where they met about 20 more people for a rally featuring several speakers.

Carlos Moreno/KCUR 89.3
A procession of police supporters march up Main Street from Washington Square Park on Saturday during the WeBackBlue rally.

Most of the speakers expressed concern about calls to defund the police. Others raised mental health concerns.

“I’m just so supportive and so concerned,” said Linda, who asked not to use her last name because her son is a Kansas City police officer. “It’s scary times. I’m worried about the world right now.”

“I want law enforcement to know that people support them,” she said. “We all don’t think they’re terrible monsters and we appreciate what they do.”

Cecilia S. Johnson, the founder of Hood Conservatives, was one of several speakers who addressed the crowd. She talked about getting tased and arrested as a teenager for assaulting a police officer in school.

“As I got older and I matured, I started to learn that there is a blessing in every single situation if you choose to learn the lesson from that situation,” Johnson said.

She told the crowd the story of her young daughter, who got run over by a car five years ago.

“Her last sight was of a police officer,” Johnson said. “To me the police officers’ job goes deeper than protecting and serving. They are life changers and life savers oftentimes.”

The marchers encountered no protesters or opposition along the route and were greeted with occasional shouts of support and cars honking along the route.

“Instead of just voting, I wanted to get out and show support,” said Kansas City resident Kendra Greenwood. “It’s a different year.”

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