A large group of Back the Blue supporters showed up to an Illinois city council meeting to demand support for its police officers.
"The way [police] have been talked to, [city officials] don’t stop that," said Matt Stuckey, a member of the Champaign County Back the Blue campaign. "You have certain city council members that have asked for defunding the police, but now they come out after the murder of Officer Chris Oberheim, they say they support the police, and I think it's an absolute slap in the face."
Hundreds of police supporters packed the room, demanding the city council to be more supportive of police.
With gun violence continuing to plague the area, residents say the message coming from the city has only made the problem worse.
"What's been happening in the last year is just breaking my heart," Champaign resident Jon Rector said. "Got a lot of friends out here tonight, and we just need to get the attention of some people. We've got to take care of this problem with the kids and the shootings. It's just bad."
The group was joined by several law enforcement spouses, who voiced concern about their loved one’s safety every time they report for duty.
Several supporters suggested council members go on ride-alongs with officers to demonstrate how dangerous the job is.
This comes amid a national debate about police tactics and brutality, with many large cities across the country moving to reallocate funds from their local police departments.
However, it also comes amid rising crime rates, a reality some observers say is a direct result of the lack of police support.
Council members responded to their message, vowing to reevaluate the city budget and emphasize community safety.
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Original Author: Michael Lee