‘Back the Blue’ rally brings political figures

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BROCKPORT, N.Y. (WHEC) — Plans for a convicted cop killer to speak at SUNY Brockport brought out a crowd rallying to support police.

Political and law enforcement figures joined a "Back the Blue" rally in Brockport Saturday afternoon. They told News10NBC’s Stephanie Duprey they don’t support the school hosting Jalil Muntaqim to speak. Muntaqim, known as Anthony Bottom is set to speak virtually.

Community members and politicians were out at the event at the Brockport Area Veterans Club, in protest against SUNY Brockport’s decision to let Muntaqim, a convicted cop-killer speak to students next week.

"They want to give voice to Anthony Bottom, a two-time cop killer, an assassin. You’re giving voice to Joseph Piagentini, and Waverly Jones and more importantly you’re giving voice to their families,” New York Senator Rob Orrt said during the event.

The event was put on by Orrt and former NYPD lieutenant and candidate for Lt. Governor, Alison Esposito.

"There is a SUNY school who wants to give a platform to legitimize a domestic terrorist,” Esposito said.

Muntaqim, was convicted of killing two New York City police officers in 1971. He’s out of jail and living in the Rochester area. Controversy erupted when SUNY Brockport invited Muntaqim to speak to students. SUNY Brockport decided not to have the event paid, but made it virtual instead according to SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson.

"This event has elicited strong feedback, divergent opinions, and has already spurred protests. We are grateful for the various agencies and partners who will be supporting the safety of our campus during the upcoming days and weeks. We urge students, faculty, and staff to engage in meaningful conversations about this situation," said Macpherson.

"The only reason it’s virtual is because they don’t want the cops on campus because that might offend, or trigger some of their students,” Orrt added.

Muntaqim is scheduled to speak virtually, next Wednesday at 6:30 pm.