FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — A large crowd gathered outside of Fresno City Hall on Saturday morning, with flags and ‘Support Blue’ poster signs in hand, for an appreciation walk to show support to all law enforcement.
“We just want our, all, law enforcement to know that the community appreciates them and supports them,” said Organizer, Daniel Payne.
One of the organizers said the event was not sponsored by any organizations, but rather put on completely by “local community members.”
Faith leaders along with many others at this event say the walk is not political but a simple “thank you” to our men and women in uniform.
“We are not against anybody, today is not a political rally, we’re not promoting any political party or political agenda,” said Pastor Jim Franklin of Cornerstone Church in downtown Fresno.
From officers on bikes to deputies on horses, the group walked down Mariposa Street. The majority of them wearing masks as they made a stop in front of Fresno Police Headquarters.
Chief Andy Hall says there’s no contest between Support Blue and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I don’t think they compete; I think they complement each other; I think both groups want the same thing, they want a community that works together, that respects each other with dignity and respect,” Hall said.
The walk ended at the Courthouse park, with a riffle salute from veterans and several speakers, including victims of crimes sharing their stories on why they support law enforcement.
Like Lucy Palomatres, whose father-in-law was shot and killed in 2018, now has a special bond with the officers.
“They were and continue to be there for my family, they were with us in the court proceeding, and we all shared the happiness when all three men were convicted and sentenced to prison for a very long time,” she said.
The community support not going unnoticed by Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.
“I feel it all the time, I feel it every day when I have public members tell me thank you,” Mims said.