ACLU: Honoring First Responders Before Middletown Football Game Sends ‘Frightening Message’
ACLU: Honoring First Responders Before MIddletown Football Game Sends ‘Frightening Message’
Middletown, NJ – The ACLU is harshly criticizing a high school football game ceremony honoring police, firefighters, and military service members, saying that the event sends a “frightening message.”
Middletown Police Department Deputy Chief Stephen Dollinger helped organize the “Salute to the USA” event before Friday night’s game. The event was described by the police department before the game:
The ceremony will entail color guards from dozens of law enforcement agencies and military posts throughout the state as well as pipe and drum bands from the Port Authority Police, New Jersey State Police, Monmouth and Ocean Counties Emeralds Societies, and the Ancient Order of Hibernians leading a large contingency of police, military, veterans, first responders and football players on to the field. A large American flag will be unfolded and held by uniformed personnel and football players from each team. The bands will play God Bless America and Amazing Grace. The National Anthem will then be sung by a Port Authority Police Officer and a student from each school. The New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit will conduct a flyover at the conclusion of the National Anthem. The NJSP and Middletown Mounted Units will participate as well as the Middletown Police K-9 Unit.
While discussing the event with the media, DC Dollinger made a statement that social justice warriors are using to paint the event in a negative light.
“It’s OK to stand up for social justice, inequality and reform,” DC Dollinger told APP.com “It’s another thing to not stand up for the national anthem. I wanted to show that pro athletes are supposed to be role models, but in this case the athletes — the high school athletes — are going to be setting the example. It’s going to be kind of a role reversal.”
The ACLU wasn’t happy that a high school held a patriotic event and that a police officer would dare to suggest that people should stand for the national anthem.
“The statements made by the deputy police chief and the event’s ostentatious show of power send an ominous, frightening message: that, as an official stance, law enforcement will not tolerate expressions acknowledging our nation’s history of unequal treatment and systematic oppression,” ACLU-NJ Organizer Jasmine Crenshaw said. “Entrance to one of the biggest sporting events in the area should not require that someone accept an atmosphere that suppresses political protest. The magnitude of this event chills the belief that police should be held accountable when they abuse their power or discriminate against people of color, and pressures student athletes to act as props of the police.”
This event was an awesome show of patriotism and support for men and women who put their lives on the line to support their communities. Please share this story if you agree. Let us know what you think in the comments below or on our Facebook page.