Protesters for and against Jalil Muntaqim’s SUNY Brockport speech weigh in
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Protesters supporting law enforcement once again rallied outside the home of SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson, in opposition to convicted cop killer Jalil Muntaqim’s speech held on campus.
They were met by students who held a rally of their own in support of Black Lives Matter.
For almost 2 hours both sides stood across the street from each other, shouting their respective slogans at each other while Muntaqim delivered his speech virtually.
"I’m still supportive of the speech because we deserve as students to say what we want to hear on campus because it’s our campus," said Jeanine D. during the rally.
Several dozen SUNY Brockport students came out in force to defend their school leaders’ decision to invite Muntaqim to campus to give a speech.
"I appreciate it," Jaiviana Jones said. "I think it’s a different perspective. A perspective that we don’t hear very often, and as people who support law and order, the man served his time. He did over 40 years."
"Particularly with him I feel like it’s really important for kids—we’re college students now—to definitely hear what he has to say. Definitely hear about his experiences. What he went through because you know that would only lead us to learn more about our history," said another student, Charles Kalima.
On the other side, with their flags and signs in hand supporters of law enforcement formed a line in front of SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson’s home. Although there was some tension between the two groups, campus police at one point put up a barrier to keep them separated. True Blue – NY Founder Charles DeFrank said his group wants it to be known that they didn’t like the idea of the speech going on as scheduled.
"It’s disrespectful to the family members, the victims, and we just don’t care for it happening pretty much. We don’t think it’s right," DeFrank said.
Muntaqim was a member of the Black Liberation Army, as well as the Black Panthers. Ayesha Kreutz said although she supports Black Lives Matter, today she had to stand with supporters of the police for one reason.
"My dad was a Black Panther so I know there were a lot of Black Panthers that were unjustly targeted, and jailed, and they were true political prisoners. Absolutely bring one of them. Have them talk about it, right. I’m all for it. Don’t bring someone who actually murdered someone, right?" Kreutz said.
True Blue – NY wrapped up their protest a little bit before 7 p.m. and left as students stood their ground on campus.