SAN ANTONIO – A crowd of more than 100 people gathered at San Antonio Public Safety Headquarters Sunday to show support for police officers.
Carrying “Thin Blue Line” flags and signs like “We Support The Blue,” the group also marched through downtown before ending up back at Public Safety Headquarters. As they marched back, they chanted “defend the peace keepers,” “they defend us,” and “we back the blue. How about you?”
One of the organizers, who gave only her first name, Barbie, said demonstrators wanted to show officers that they had their backs and “we are not ok with the hate they are getting. Not all officers are bad.”
The show of support follows weeks of protests and demonstrations in San Antonio and around the nation against police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a black man killed in police custody.
Local calls for reform have included changing the discipline process for officers and “defunding” the police.
While “defund the police” has become a popular cry around the county, it can mean anything from spending less money on policing to completely dismantling a department, depending on who’s saying it.
“I just hope that the citizens will see this and wake up,” retired police officer Ronnie Welch said of Sunday’s demonstration. “I mean, sometimes you’ve gotta stand up for right, and this is right. You don’t want to defund our department. You want to let our men and women on the street know that we love ‘em and know that we support ‘em.”
Barbie told KSAT that she was urging demonstrators to let elected officials know they don’t support defunding the police.
The city is currently developing its budget for the 2021 fiscal year, which begins in October. A proposed budget is expected to be unveiled on Aug. 6.