Pro-Police Rally draws hundreds in South Bend
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - As protests continue to break out throughout Michiana and the United States calling for police reform and an end to police brutality, one group in South Bend decided to send its own message. That led to the "Not Silent Anymore" Back the Blue rally outside the County City Building in downtown South Bend on Monday.
"We're here to support the police department not criminals," John Douglas, a rally participant said. "No criminals. We're tired of them shooting up our town. That's all they want to do is shoot. We're tired of it. 'Defund the police' is not going to work."
Dueling protests eventually broke out as some Black Lives Matter protesters gathered across the street from the County City Building to send a message of their own.
"There are millions and millions of bodies of black people, brown people, just people who have been murdered and a lot of officers haven't been held accountable," said Gelasius Morgan of Black Lives Matter South Bend.
There were those at the dueling protests who were calling for the defunding of the police, a popular rallying cry among supporters of police reform. Morgan said it does not mean what some believe. He said what Black Lives Matter South Bend means when it says "Defund the Police" is for municipalities to take the extra funding they give police departments and instead distribute them to fire departments, schools, and social services.
The Back the Blue rally participants wanted to show the South Bend city government that there was public support for the long-debated South Bend Police Department pay raise the Common Council has been discussing.
"They deserve a pay raise," Douglas said. "They do. They deserve all the money. They work hard. They're putting their lives at risk every day."
The South Bend Common Council said it will discuss that pay raise again on Wednesday after Mayor James Mueller pulled the proposal.