The people of El Paso, Texas flooded City Hall Tuesday morning to support their Chief of Police, Greg Allen, who came under fire by local officials after he called Black Lives Matter a “radical hate group.” Allen’s comments followed last Thursday night’s massacre of Dallas police that left five officers dead and nine others wounded.
The officers were killed while defending protestors who peacefully protested against police. While the protestors were not blamed for the shooting committed by Micah X. Johnson, Allen voiced his feelings about the how Black Lives Matter stirred up hatred for law enforcement.
“Black Lives Matter, as far as I’m concerned, is a radical hate group,” Allen said after a press conference Friday to local reporters. “For that purpose alone I think the leadership of this country needs to look a little bit harder at that particular group. The consequences of what we saw in Dallas is due to their efforts.”
On Tuesday, July 12, El Paso Police Union officials announced Allen, the city’s black police chief, received death threats over his comment.
— Courtney Schoenemann (@CourtKFOX_CBS) July 12, 2016
Late last week, local Democrat officials pounced on Allen after his comments. The Texas Tribune reported U.S. Rep. Beto O’Roarke, state Sen. José Rodríguez; state Reps. César Blanco, Joe Moody and Mary González; County Judge Veronica Escobar; plus representatives for the NAACP and ACLU penned a letter demanding El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser and city council members “publicly repudiate the statement, forcefully and unequivocally.”
In response, Allen released a statement Monday, July 11:
“The remarks I shared after Friday’s press conference were made during an emotional time, I hope everyone can respect that. I am a police officer first and foremost and it truly pains me any time an officer is killed. As Police Chief, the most difficult part of my job has been to notify wives, mothers, fathers and children that their loved one has been killed. I have had to bury five officers during my tenure and I will never forget their faces.
Having to endure that and hearing and seeing the negative actions that are taking place at some ‘Black Lives Matter’ events truly disturb me. For example, in New York City, the protestors were chanting, ‘What do you want?’ and the response was ‘dead cops.’ At another protest in Minnesota, the protestors were chanting ‘pigs in a blanket fry them like bacon.’ In Harlem and in Dallas ‘Black Lives Matter’ supporters were cheering after police officers were killed. Is anyone stepping up and condemning or even attempting to stop these activities or this kind of rhetoric? NO! These actions directly and indirectly influence people looking to take part in negative activities. Our City supports the initial cause for the creation of ‘Black Lives Matter’ but we do not support violence in any shape or form.
Our police forces need to know they have support and wanting ‘dead cops’ is not acceptable. I grew up in the 60’s when racial tension was at its height and Martin Luther King was marching and NOT condoning violence in any manner. What is going on today is wrong! I work very hard to ensure accountability among my officers, our discipline boards include police administration as well as civilians. We do not accept negative actions on the parts of our officers and have put procedures in place to protect our community members as well as our officers. Now is the time to mourn the loss of the police officers and the individuals that have fallen as part of the tragic shootings across America. There needs to be discussion and scrutiny of the real issues to better address this situation.”
Also Monday, Mayor Leeser expressed his disappointment with the letter, criticizing Allen for his Black Lives Matter remarks without without first speaking to the police chief and hearing his thoughts, KVIA 7 (ABC) reported. “You know, it’s really important to get someone’s viewpoint and understand where you are coming from,” Leeser said, “I was very disappointed with the letter.”
The El Paso Police Department Supervisors Association stood behind Allen, emphasizing his comments were not politically motivated, according to the El Paso Times. “Chief Allen is clearly a police professional who cares greatly about police officers not only here in El Paso but throughout the United States and having known him for many years, I noted he was greatly bothered by the deaths in Dallas,” the association said in a statement.
“His comments however, were not those of a man who professed hatred, they were the comments made by a police professional who has made a professional assessment of a particular group and determined that they are a radical hate group which professes violence towards police.”
Association officials added, as a sign of support for Allen, they will donate $20,000 to the Police Department to be used by Chief Allen, as he determines, to keep our officers safe.”
On July 12, El Pasoans symbolically stood with their police chief at city hall despite a July 10 statement by Black El Paso Democrats Chair Dorothy “Sissy” Byrd. She accused Allen’s comments of causing a “tremendous rift” between law enforcement and the El Paso community.
KFOX 14 tweeted the hall chambers were packed.
— Courtney Schoenemann (@CourtKFOX_CBS) July 12, 2016
KFOX 14 also showed the many who stood behind the speaker:
— KFOX14 News (@KFOX14) July 12, 2016
At press time, a newly formed Facebook page “I Stand With Police Chief Greg Allen” exceeded 2,800 “likes” and the online petition “Leave Greg Allen Alone, El Paso” which states “Greg Allen should remain El Paso, Texas’ Police Chief period” garnered 1,197 of the 2,000 signatures it seeks.
Allen has led the El Paso Police Department since 2007. City Councilwoman Claudia Ordaz, who denounced Allen’s comments, praised the police chief’s stellar public service record, the Times added.
Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.