On Saturday, July 18, hundreds of residents, including members of the Warwick Fire Department and a few motorcycle clubs, gathered under a huge American flag at Veterans Memorial Park for a “Back the Blue” rally in support of law enforcement.
Guest speakers included Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus and Orange County Undersheriff Ken Jones.
“The purpose of the event,” said Neuhaus, “was to show our support and appreciation for police officers that work and live here. It is important to support Orange County’s law enforcement and respect their commitment, dedication and bravery.
“Every day, our police officers put their lives at risk to serve and protect us,” the county executive added. “I am proud to stand with my friends in law enforcement and firmly believe that public safety starts with a healthy relationship between the police and the public.”
The organizer of the event were retired New York Police Department Detectives Angel Maysonet and his wife, Peggy, who were assisted by Carmela Borrazas, founder of Hugs for Courage.
“We are both of Puerto Rican descent,” said Angel Maysonet, “and have been Warwick residents for 15 years. The talk that Warwick is a racist town is nonsense. I have never felt oppressed by anyone in Warwick. Police officers are currently the most marginalized members of society, without a doubt.
“We are judged by the uniform that we wear and the shield that we proudly pin on our chest and not by the content of our character,” teh retired detective added. “We don’t pick and choose who we’re going to help and what crimes are going to take place, so that we can go harass people of color. That’s not what we do.”
Jones, the undersheriff, added: “We’re willing to volunteer to die for people we don’t know in order to protect them.There are very few occupations that are willing to make that sacrifice. We stand against racism and back the blue.”
Editor’s note: Taylor Sterling, manager of WTBQ, contributed to for this article.