Individuals gathered in Rockford, Illinois, to show support for police at a “Back the Blue” rally were confronted and threatened by “counter-protesters” who carried signs comparing law enforcement to the Ku Klux Klan. During the weekend, 17 arrests were made — all consisting of the anti-police attendees who also allegedly threatened officers on site to maintain order.
The Rockford Register Star reported on the events that unfolded outside of the Winnebago County Criminal Justice Center:
Police intervened, using tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowd and then said over a loudspeaker that those who remained would be arrested.
Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea said officers have showed restraint and have been “more than patient” during frequent protests throughout the city this summer. But he said recent actions have forced officers to act, including Friday night, when protesters formed a blockade to stop vehicles from passing through the intersection of State and Water streets.
“The citizens and the businesses of Rockford deserve to have the right to drive down the roads and conduct business and not have to worry about people coming in, just trying to scream and yell and cause chaos and incite riots,” O’Shea said. “It’s just not tolerated.”
Six of those arrested face charges that include disorderly conduct, mob action, aggravated battery to a peace officer, and resisting arrest, the local news outlet reported. Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana said two officers were injured:
Citizen reporter Andy Ngo also posted developments in Illinois, which led Bernard B. Kerik, 40th police commissioner of the New York City Police Department, to question why and how the 17 violent protesters were so quickly released from custody.
“@TheJusticeDept must begin looking at who is bailing these people out. I strongly believe you’re going to be able to connect the dots back to their organizers and funders, making this a federal crime,” Kerick tweeted.