Castle Rock residents rallied in support of police on June 27, drawing hundreds who marched downtown and gathered on the steps of the Castle Rock Police Department.
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Event organizer Robert Zearing hoped the rally would boost morale among officers as protests take place across the nation decrying police brutality and urging police reform.
Zearing said he has friends on the Castle Rock police force and he believes good officers are being punished for the actions of police who acted improperly.
“With everything negative going on, it’s time to show thanks,” he said.
Zearing also said he supports calls for equality and the Black Lives Matter movement. He attended two local protests held earlier that month in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter, he said.
People need to come together to both decry racism and acknowledge police who do their jobs correctly, he said.
“We’re with them 100%, we’re for equality and social justice,” he said of Black Lives Matter.
Protester Todd Soileau said he also supports Black Lives Matter’s mission to address police brutality and calls for equality, but he believes good officers are getting “a bad rap” for the actions of a few.
“Everybody needs to understand that the 1% don’t define the 99%,” Soileau said.
Soileau expressed frustration with incidents of looting and violence seen in some communities in the wake of police killings of people of color.
“I don’t think Black Lives Matter is the massive hate group that they’re made out to be, but they have to take responsibility for the people who fall in with their crowd,” he said.
Police Chief Jack Cauley came out to the rally to thank people for their support. Cauley said morale among local officers has stayed strong amid the COVID-19 pandemic and police brutality protests.
Local community support is strong as well, he said. Residents are dropping off food and cards for police nearly every day.
But Cauley added that he is frustrated with what he called the national narrative toward police, and he criticized the news media. Cauley believes the policing profession is being broad-brushed in a negative light, which he called “not right.”
Certain incidents involving police warrant criticism, Cauley said, adding that and law enforcement across the nation should enact changes in policing. But he also said, “There is also a lot of good work being done by law enforcement officers every single day that right now is being overshadowed.”
As people marched in Castle Rock, thousands gathered in Aurora to protest the police killing of Elijah McClain, and for a time blocked traffic on Interstate 225 through the city. The unarmed 23-year-old died after he was detained by police in August, the Sentinel Colorado reported. Gov. Jared Polis has appointed Attorney General Phil Weiser to re-investigate McClain’s death.
The two protests marked the latest phase in weeks of local civil action spurred by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and other Black citizens who died following police encounters.
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