‘Back the Blue’ rally held Saturday ahead of convicted cop killer’s speaking event at SUNY Brockport

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BROCKPORT, N.Y. (WHEC) — A "Back the Blue" rally was held Saturday in Brockport, just days before a convicted cop killer’s speaking event at SUNY Brockport.

Jalil Muntaqim, also known as Anthony Bottom, was convicted of killing New York City Police officers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini in 1971. He was also a Black Panther and member of the Black Liberation Army. Click here for more information about the Black Liberation Army. Now he’s out of jail and living in the Greater Rochester area.

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Muntaqim is scheduled to speak to Brockport students on Wednesday, April 6. The event caused controversy, with politicians on both sides of the aisle as well as the law enforcement community calling for Muntaqim not to be paid taxpayer money for the appearance, or to cancel the event altogether.

SUNY Brockport first rescinded the "Promoting Excellence in Diversity Grant" so that Muntaqim wouldn’t be paid, then decided to make the event virtual "to help mitigate any potential security concerns", though the college did not mention if any specific threats had been made.

Protesters have demonstrated outside SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson’s on-campus home several times.

It’s being put on by State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, and former NYPD lieutenant and candidate for Lt. Governor Alison Esposito.

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Ortt is inviting people to send the message to people who "continue to put the wishes of criminals before the needs of law-abiding New Yorkers."