More than 200 residents and supporters attended a pro-police rally in front of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on Friday.
Taking place near the intersection of Valencia Boulevard and Magic Mountain Parkway late in the afternoon, the demonstrators held up signs that read “Blue Lives Matter” and “I support law enforcement,” or wore clothes and waved flags denoting their support for President Donald Trump.
Newhall resident and event organizer Steven Baron, 72, said he had set up the rally to show support for local law enforcement, and was demonstrating that support on Friday with his megaphone and the chant “Honk your horn to support the police.”
“There’s so much frustration, while I handed out those fliers, about seeing on the TV night after night how our police are held back from performing their duties,” Baron said on Friday. “They’re being called pigs and being insulted and being called all sorts of terrible names.”
Baron said he recognizes that Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis officer who killed George Floyd after the officer kept his knee on the back of the handcuffed Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, is “a bad apple.”
“There are rotten apples in every barrel, in law enforcement, in medicine, in dentistry, in accounting, there are always bad apples,” said Baron. “We want to get rid of those bad apples, but we want to support those wonderful law-abiding police who protect us.”
Baron added he didn’t see the issue of policing along party or racial lines. He said rules and regulations could be adopted by the police to weed out bad apples, and that process should be left to experts in criminology, such as the police and knowledgeable citizen groups.
“There are people who have specialized in criminology and in law enforcement who do know these things, and we can certainly come up with rules and regulations for each district, county throughout the country so that those rules come into effect,” Baron added.
Rob, 74, and Sharon Kerr, 70, demonstrators at the rally and near-decade-long residents of Valencia, said they also believed there were “bad apples” in the police departments, but that a majority of police were lawful.
“Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of cops are great people, and we want them to know that we value what they do,” said Sharon. “They really do put their lives on the line for us.”
Both Kerrs said they had never had a negative interaction with the SCV Sheriff’s Station, but they saw what happened to George Floyd as “horrible.”
“But then that message got hijacked, and it got chaotic and it got ugly,” Sharon added, “and that horrified me.”
Erika Berry, a 24-year-old Valencia resident, said she’s had two generations of law enforcement officers in her family, and they’re the reason she stood on the street corner with a sign that read “defund the police,” but the “U” had been purposefully painted over to read instead “defend.”
“It’s not a good time to be a cop, they’re seeing a lot of hate, so we just want to show them some love,” said Berry. “Let them know we want them to make it home after every shift.”