Police officers in Massachusetts plan to protest a “Black Lives Matter” banner Thursday because the town’s mayor refuses to take down.
Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone previously said the banner, which reads “Black Lives Matter,” will continue to hang over the Somerville City Hall, as it has since August 2015, reports CBS News.
The president of the Somerville Police Employees Association, Michael McGrath, organized the protests against the banner, and police officers from across Massachusetts plan to participate. Some police say the Black Lives Matter movement has only helped perpetuate violence against police officers throughout the nation.
“The rally will be peaceful and respectful, but will demonstrate the solidarity of police organizations in Massachusetts to the exclusionary message that the banner sends,” McGrath said.
Other police groups, like the Massachusetts Municipal Police Coalition, disagree with the banner hanging on City Hall. The group said that it does not support the “exclusionary message” of the banner.
Curtatone said that Black Lives Matter does not cause violence against the police.
“They’re wrong. It doesn’t inspire violence against police. Promoting our police, and praising our police, and fighting against racism go hand in hand,” Curtatone said.
There will be counter protests, as well, according to a statement from Curtatone. The police chief of Somerville, David Fallon, came out in support of the banner. Curtatone reiterated that the banner will continue to hang over City Hall.
“Standing up for our minority populations and supporting the police officers who protect and serve our communities should go hand-in-hand. Both of those banners are hanging for the same reason: too many people have died in a cycle of violence that needs to be stopped. Both are a stand against violence. Both will remain,” Curtatone said in a statement.
McGrath wrote an open letter to Curtatone earlier in July, asking him to remove the banner. The letter stated that the banner was “demoralizing” given the recent violence against police officers across the country. (RELATED: Police Union Calls For Removal Of BLM Banner, Mayor Rules To Keep It)
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