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'Defend, not defund': Back the Blue supporters counter-protest rally to defund police

About 150 people rallied in Spokane on Sunday to support local law enforcement.

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash — About 150 people rallied to support local law enforcement on Sunday afternoon at the Spokane County Courthouse. 

Spokane is divided over the issue of defunding the police. The "Back the Blue" supporters said they are fighting for their perspectives to be heard. They organized a counter-protest to the "Defund the Police" rally. 

"Our voices need to get out in the community so that there's another side," said rally organizer Sherry Green. "There's a silent majority that is starting to speak up."

Sherry and her husband Danny have organized multiple law enforcement support events.

"We have to defend, not defund them, lift them up and encourage them," Danny Green added. "We need to be here to encourage them and let them know that we have their backs."

Credit: Morgan Trau
Sherry and Danny Green at Back the Blue rally

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said he's appreciative of how many people came to support law enforcement. Local politicians aren't listening to the citizens of Spokane, but he is willing to work for a better relationship, he said.

"I feel disrespected by the city council," he said. "They may think that we need some reform, we can always be better."

The Greens agree with that sentiment, as they want to keep the peace, they said. 

Credit: Morgan Trau
Back the Blue supporters

"I'm open for anything we can resolve, anything, I'm open to that," he said. "But I do stand firm with supporting our law enforcement." 

Nobody would ever get him to say to defund them, he said. In fact, he thinks the opposite. 

"We need to give them raises," he said. "I would give them raises to put up with this."

The rally was mostly calm until protesters and counter-protesters started exchanging insults. Green said he made sure to calm his side down, as he wanted to keep the rally civil.