Thirty-five people lined two sides of the intersection of rtes. 83 and 82 in Sonoita Saturday morning, June 13, to show their support for local law enforcement. The demonstrators held signs and waved American flags at passing vehicles, eliciting honks and smiles from many of the people driving by.
The event was organized by Philip Burdine, of Sonoita and Mary Moran, of Elgin. “I believe that law enforcement has taken a huge hit right now,” Burdine said. “On a personal level, I am a Vietnam vet. I know the importance of having your community and your country backing you up,” something he said he did not experience when he returned from the war.
“This is not a protest,” Burdine said. “I don’t think there is anyone here who does not support the rule of law. George Floyd was murdered by a white cop and there is no one I know who doesn’t believe that George Floyd deserves justice and the former officer deserves punishment to the fullest extent of the law.”
“This is not political for me,” he added. “I asked participants not to wear any political clothes or carry political signs.” Not everyone at the event complied with his request. At least two of the participants were wearing Trump caps.
Nick Robb, of Sonoita, who attended the event with his wife and four children, said he was there because of “all the negativity towards law enforcement. We wanted to come together and show our support as a community.” He added that the murder of George Floyd “Is universally condemned as bad policing and is indicative of one bad police officer who should not represent law enforcement at large.”
Mary Moran said she was motivated to organize the demonstration because she wanted to “let law enforcement in this area know that we appreciate them and support them.” “Our intention was to be uplifting and positive,” she said.
Only a handful of people at the event were wearing masks or maintaining social distance. The organizers had not requested that attendees wear masks. “We didn’t address that, because we are outside,” Moran said. “We feel safe.”