ANNAPOLIS, Md. — In response to the growing movement across the country that has put the jobs of police officers under a microscope, an issue that many Republicans across the country have been exclaiming as problematic, several GOP members of the Maryland General Assembly gathered on the front steps at the Maryland State House to show their support for law enforcement.
Accompanied by an estimated few hundred people present for what was called a “Back the Blue” rally, six Republican delegates from across Maryland hosted an event on July 23 where people could “express [their] appreciation for the dedication, commitment, and sacrifice of police officers,” while keeping with regulations of wearing masks and social distancing.
Among those hosting included Del. Matt Morgan[R-St. Mary’s], who has maintained adamant support for law enforcement across the country, throughout the relatively recent period of social unrest spanning across the country following the death of George Floyd back on May 25.
“The events that occurred out there in Minnesota with George Floyd were tragic [and] indefensible… but it should have been a unifying tragedy because I haven’t met anyone, anyone in the public, that’s trying to defend or justify it, especially police officers,” Morgan said in a speech at the event. “It should have been a unifying event. And unfortunately, people are using it as an excuse to drive a political narrative and trying to undermine and dismantle the police departments.”
Del. Matt Morgan speaking at the Back the Blue rally on July 23. (Via Facebook)
Morgan would go on to discuss some statistics that were brought to his attention by St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron[R] in conversation with the St. Mary’s County NAACP Chapter not too long ago. Morgan cited that over the past 75,000 calls which 143 officers responded to in St. Mary’s, the department received 44 total complaints.
Of those complaints, 29 were filed by officers against other officers who were considered to be “policing themselves,” while the other 15 complaints came from citizens. All have since been investigated and brought to conclusions.
While Morgan said in his speech that “any reasonable person would say they’re doing an excellent job,” he pointed out how Democratic colleagues will counter his point by saying, “it only takes one incident.”
“It’s time for elected officials to start stepping up,” Morgan said. “We don’t need to hear you at election time. We don’t need you to hear you when it’s fundraising time. We need you to show some leadership right now… Climb this hill with us, stand with our law enforcement because we know they do a great job. Defend our country, stand up to the mob, and together we can be the solution for the American promise.”
Of the other event speakers, two hailed from Carroll County, one of the handfuls of Republican-led areas across the Old Line State. Del. Haven Shoemaker[R-Carroll] and Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees[R] both presented thoughts on what they described as a misrepresentation of how policing is currently being looked at.
Del. Shoemaker speaking at the event.
“To the men and women who wear that uniform, and who knowingly and willingly put their lives on the line and keep us safe every single day. I say, do not despair,” Shoemaker said. “Because the overwhelming majority of folks, we will call them the silent majority, back you, appreciate you, and pray for you every day.”
DeWees would go on and read from a letter penned by former Anne Arundel County police chief, Timothy Altomare, who opted to retire effective Aug. 1 after serving for two decades as an officer in the county. DeWees said that with Altomare’s permission, he would read from his resignation letter because “it couldn’t be said any better.”
“To the people of Anne Arundel County, your police officers are among the best in the world. Remember that they work extremely hard in a very difficult job and they deserve better than they have been getting lately,” DeWees read. “This conversation is not about race for me. We would die to protect any person who needed us, regardless of skin tone, religion, sexual orientation, or any other thing that people use to chop humanity up into smaller groups…”
“There is a movement in this nation, and this county, to remove the teeth of police. It has grown, and it will have lasting effects that you will see and feel…” DeWees continued.
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