Editor’s Note: The following letter was submitted by Village of Westbury Justice Thomas F. Liotti in reference to the Back the Blue Demonstration, slated for July 25 at Eisenhower Park.
This does not mean that our law enforcement institutions are not also in need of reform which the Kerner, Knapp and Christopher Commissions all recommended but where few changes have occurred.
There is nothing inconsistent with support for The Black Lives Matter Movement and law enforcement reform. Each can and should promote law enforcement that is free of racism. Without a recognition by law enforcement of the racism which exists within its ranks, minorities will continue to demonstrate and protest.
Blind support for law enforcement will simply lead to more dissention and possibly even violence. There can be a peaceful solution if we work together to reform our institutions and rid them of racism.
The form of reforms will require more study to determine how they can be implemented while preserving the primary function of law enforcement to provide for the safety of the public.
The public should recognize that some politicians who pander to them by expressing blind support for the police, military and monuments from the Confederacy are simply mining for their votes, condoning racism and helping to start a second Civil War.
Their message is to divide and conquer while it should be in the words of Abraham Lincoln from his Gettysburg Address in 1863:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting a proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate–we cannot consecrate–we cannot hallow–this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government for the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
—Thomas F. Liotti
The writer is a civil rights lawyer and is the Village of Westbury Justice.
The following is from the Back the Blue Demonstration Facebook page:
Join us on Saturday, July 25 in Eisenhower Park from 2 to 4 p.m. as we meet in support and solidarity for the men and women of law enforcement.
This is NOT a counter-protest to the Black Lives Matter movement. This is a demonstration aimed directly at our politicians who want to attack the men and women of law enforcement by passing asinine legislation, defunding the police and promoting violence in our communities. Now is the time for our voices to be heard!
On site, we will have prominent law enforcement speakers, music, networking, voter registration and more. Masks and face coverings are required as per the governor’s orders where social distancing guidelines cannot be met (unless for medical exemptions).
Please meet at Football Field #4, directly next to/across from Parking Lot #6/6A. Wear blue or law enforcement apparel. Bring thin blue line flags & signs.
We expect a counter-protest with an unknown amount of individuals. The Nassau County Police Department will be on site to assure an orderly and peaceful demonstration by everyone. Although you may not agree with the counter-protest, it is their right to peacefully protest against ours. No matter what they say, no matter what they do, please do not be baited into arguments with others. Show them love and compassion, offer them space to protest, respect their opinions. If you are seen or heard stating any violent commentary, you will be asked to leave.
This is a family-friendly event. Please, no alcohol.