Illinois Back the Blue campaigners pack city council meeting, demand support for police

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Back the Blue campaigners packed an Illinois city council meeting to demand more support for police officers. 

“The way [police] have been talked to, [city officials] don’t stop that,” Back the Blue Champaign County member Matt Stuckey said. “You have certain city council members that have asked for defunding the police, but now they come out after the murder of Officer Chris Oberheim, they say they support the police, and I think it’s an absolute slap in the face.”

Hundreds of people packed the council meeting, with dozens of people lined up to voice their concerns. Mainly, they wanted the council to respect and support the police department. 

Community members say that the city’s lack of support has exacerbated an already serious gun violence crisis, News Channel 20 reported. 

“What’s been happening in the last year is just breaking my heart,” Champaign resident Jon Rector said. “Got a lot of friends out here tonight and we just need to get the attention of some people. We’ve got to take care of this problem with the kids and the shootings. It’s just bad.”

Several officer wives spoke as well about the fear they suffer while their spouses go on patrol each day, WCIA reported. 

Speakers asked for council members to go on ride alongs to see the dangers with which police live, as well. 

Others believe the city needs to address the issues leading younger people to use guns and commit violence. 

“Part of the system is broken right now and it can’t be fixed in DC; we need to fix it here in Champaign-Urbana,” Rector said.

Council members listened to all comments, committing to re-evaluate the budget to make safer neighborhoods. 

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