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Rally In Downtown San Antonio Joins Nationwide Events Celebrating Law Enforcement

Just blocks away from where demonstrators said they marched in protest against discrimination and violence in policing in recent weeks, a smaller group of about a dozen people gathered at Municipal Plaza on Saturday to express their support for police.

Wearing Blue Lives Matter clothing and holding American flags, the small group said they wanted to bring attention to the good police do in communities instead of supporting a narrative they said only focuses on the bad.

San Antonio Fire Department Chaplain A.D. Smoot said people should defend, not defund the police.

"I know that there are many people just like me that feel just like I do -- that support police," he said. "We might be what’s referred to as the silent majority, but I want to encourage people that it’s time for people to find their voice.

Smoot said he understood that that through conversation things could improve. But, he said, this should be done with the knowledge that there are just a few bad cops and that police are mostly out to help people.

"We see so much in the news, in the mainstream media, denigrating the police, people having a disdain for the police, wanting to defund law enforcement," he said, "and we're totally against that."

Soslan Temanson held a Texas flag at the event. He came from Wisconsin and was in San Antonio for a ministry trip.

He said he immigrated to the United States from Russia, where he remembered the police being corrupt and people being too scared to call them. His experience in this country has been different, though.

"When I see a police officer, I go up to them and say 'thank you for what you have done,' " he said.

The event was part of a national event by Bridge the Blue, with people across the country rallying behind law enforcement.

According the Facebook event page, organizers claimed that on July 18, 2020, "Everything Changes. We will remain #SilentNoMore!" They did not specify what would change or the nature of those changes.

The events took place after weeks of protests, rallies and vigils held to honor men and women who died in police custody; calls to defund police departments; and discussions, including in San Antonio, to improve police procedures and the relationship between police and the communities they were meant to protect and serve.

Jolene Almendarez can be reached at JoleneAlmendarez@gmail.com and on Twitter at @jalmendarez57.

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