PJ DeGross organized the rally for law enforcement held Saturday in Carson City. She speaks about why and her motivation. Reno Gazette Journal
A rally to show support for law enforcement drew about 100 supporters, along with dozens of people driving by and their honking car horns, in downtown Carson City on Saturday.
The law enforcement rally coincided with a Black Lives Matter, held on the same block in front of the state legislature building on the cool and breezy day.
Organizers said it was coincidental the two groups were there at the same time. A sheriff’s deputy nearby said rallies are held there almost every weekend for a variety of causes.
PJ DeGross organized Saturday’s law enforcement rally, saying many of her family members have been police officers in several cities around the country.
She said the rally was in response to the numerous protests and rallies being held around the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd by a police officer.
DeGross said she woke up in tears after Floyd was killed, on May 25, Memorial Day, crying for the country and for Floyd.
She saw the many rallies held for Floyd but was concerned there were not any being held for law enforcement.
“Am I saying every cop is great? No, we have bad and good in everything. But I felt we should come out and support our police officers,” DeGross said. “The minute they put on their uniforms and walk outside, they’re in harm’s way. Nobody is more saddened by the rogue cops than the good cops that are out there.”
She planned to stand outside the legislature on Saturday regardless if anyone else showed up.
Ken Gray, a Lyon County commissioner, said the goal Saturday was to show support for the good officers.
He said bad officers make the entire department look bad, citing the case of Floyd being killed by officer Derek Chauvin.
“We want law enforcement to know that we are with them in the good times and the bad,” Gray said. “It’s the bad officers that put the good officers’ lives in jeopardy. That’s not a good thing, we need to hold bad officers accountable, obviously, and that’s what’s going on right now with the George Floyd incident. I don’t know one single officer that’s even tried to defend (Chauvin’s) actions.”
Noah Thew, 26, from Gardnerville, organized the Black Lives Matter rally, saying a lot of hate has been building up and the best way to help alleviate that is by opening up better lines of communication and trying to understand each other.
He said holding police and all people accountable can help.
“If you don’t hold anyone accountable, they can do whatever they want,” Thew said. “You start to cover for each other instead of speaking up and saying, ‘Hey, that’s wrong. I’m going to stop that.’”
He said the goal is to institute long-term, lasting change.
The law enforcement group also held a prayer vigil for the safety of officers and for officer Shay Mikalonis, who was shot Monday night in Las Vegas and is in critical condition.
A rally to support police is set for 9 a.m, Wednesday in downtown Reno at City Hall, in conjunction with the Reno City council meeting that day.
Jim Krajewski covers high school and youth sports for the Reno Gazette Journal. Follow him on Twitter @RGJPreps. Support his work by subscribing to RGJ.com right here.
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