Jalil Muntaquim was convicted of killing two police officers back in 1971. He was recently paroled in October of 2020 after serving 49 years in prison. SUNY Brockport allowed Muntaquim to speak to college students in person. Lots of people were angry, which led to a protest breaking out right on the doorstep of SUNY Brockport.
On April 7, a “Back the Blue” protest was held right in the Tower of Fine Arts parking lot. There were also “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) protestors that protested against the “Back the Blue” protestors.
“Back the Blue” Protestors Perspective
The goal of the protest was to shut down the event, so Muntaquim can’t speak. Protestors were also waving around police flags and American flags to show their support towards the lives of police officers.
Brockport resident Dannette Daniels believes that police officers should be respected, given for what they do for the community.
“Well my son’s father is a police officer, and my sister’s husband is a police officer. So I want to respect them and their integrity for what they do for a living,” said Daniels.
Dayna Merchant, the sister of Dannett Daniels, thinks that everyone needs the police for protection,
“I think it’s time for the people who back up the police to stand up. We’re just worried about what could happen to us if we didn’t have any protection,” said Merchant
Some protestors have acknowledged that there were many instances that led to a tragic outcome, such as the events of the George Floyd murder and the local Daniel Prude murder that were caused by some police officers.
Brockport resident Mason Gouge acknowledges that and agrees some police officers are bad but they all shouldn’t be generalized as bad people.
“I just want to show my support for the police, there is times they do things wrong but at the same time there’s not really a reason for them to receive the extreme backlash that they do” said Gouge.
“There are bad civilians and there are good civilians, same thing with cops, they’re nothing more but civilians with a badge” Gouge added.
“Black Lives Matter” Protestors Perspective
Across from the tower of Fine Arts parking lot, there were people holding up flags and signs that protested against the “Back the Blue” protestors.
SUNY Brockport student Rebecca Ostrander was one of those people. She believed that the flags that the other “Back the Blue” protestors were holding up were targeted against the BLM movement.
“I’m sure their feelings are coming from a good place. I just think that it’s misguided. The flags they’re holding up were created in opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Ostrander.
Brockport student Lexie Parker believed that Muntaquim should have the right to speak and that the opposing protestors shouldn’t have the right to stop him from doing so.
“I just want to counteract the absolute buffoonery of the Blue Lives Matter movement. I don’t see a problem of having a speaker tell their story, regardless of what side you’re on,” said Parker.
The college’s decision for having a convicted murderer come speak for the college has sparked a protest for one side, the “Back the Blue” movement. This resulted in the “Black Lives Matter” movement to protest against the “Back the Blue” movement.
There may have been two protests, but those protests have more than two intentions that can be looked at in many ways.