Tom Duggan, publisher of The Valley Patriot, in WHAV’s Edwin V. Johnson Newsroom.
Story includes material from The Valley Patriot newspaper.
The son of a slain Lawrence police officer is organizing a Methuen rally to show citizen support for police officers.
Valley Patriot Publisher Tom Duggan called for the rally in the wake of last Thursday’s sniper attack in Dallas that left five police officers dead and nine others injured. For Duggan, it is a deeply personal commitment. His father, Lawrence Police Officer Tom Duggan Sr. died in the line of duty March 16, 1990—three days after being attacked by two men, one of whom struck him with a metal softball bat. He was 47.
“I’m tired of it. These men and women are heroes who put their lives on the line to protect the public, and it’s time for good people to stand with them and show that we care about their sacrifices! We can’t change how the rest of the country feels about our cops, but we sure as hell can do something at the local level to raise awareness for what these peace officers deal with every day, and that their lives matter!” Duggan wrote.
He has received support from Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon for the assembly which takes place Wednesday, July 20, 6 to 8 p.m., at the parking area behind Methuen High School.
Last Thursday, Dallas Police Officers Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa died when Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, of Mesquite, Texas, apparently targeted them following a peaceful rally. Johnson, a military veteran who had served in Afghanistan was a trained sniper.
“The coming together of the police and those we serve hits at the core of our profession,” Solomon told the Valley Patriot.
“The rule of law has no meaning without the mutual respect and admiration of each other. Sir Robert Peel said it the best. ‘The police at all times should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police’. We look forward to sharing time with our community at the rally.”
Duggan blamed the media and politicians for falsely portraying police officers “as a bunch of jack booted thugs looking to gun down black men and take away people’s rights,”
“I hope people will hear our message and think for themselves when they see the daily blood libels against cops on CNN every single day,” Duggan said.
The publisher said he will allow speeches only from those politicians who have worked in law enforcement or are family members of police killed. “This is a non-political event,” he added.
Police departments in Lawrence, Methuen, Lynn, North Andover and Haverhill will participate, but Solomon and Duggan say they are inviting any and all departments to come as well as members of the public who support law enforcement.