‘Back The Blue’ rally held in response to Jalil Muntaqim speaking at SUNY Brockport
BROCKPORT, NY (WROC) – Protesters gathered near SUNY Brockport to rally against the University allowing Jalil Muntaqim, who was convicted of murdering two New York police officers in the 1970s, to speak about his time locked up as a “political prisoner”. ”.
Many speakers took to the podium, including elected officials with ties to the University of Brockport and the surrounding community. Responders have called out the school for what they see as a lack of respect for law enforcement.
At the county and state levels, legislatures and their supporters condemned Brockport for encouraging Jalil Muntaqim to portray himself as a political prisoner in a paid speech.
“Do you think they would have this guy being a speaker for a minute if he shot up a post office and killed two people? Of course not,” said Joe Robach, who opened the event. Do you think if he went somewhere on a college campus and killed two instructors, they would make him talk? Ever.”
It was 1971 when Muntaqim, then known as Anthony Bottom, and another man killed New York police officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones. He was released after spending nearly 50 years in prison.
“Anthony Bottom is neither a victim nor a political prisoner,” Monroe County Legislator Jackie Smith said. “He cruelly took the lives of Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones and now seeks to profit from them. Trying to convey a message of victimization.
Because of these murders, the residents of Brockport and their elected leaders argue that this type of promotion and payments to Muntaqim cannot be protected by the First Amendment. And fear the example he sets for students and their children.
“It’s not about free speech,” Clarkson Mayor Kevin Johnson said. “This man has the right to say whatever he wants to whomever he wants. But when you give him a platform, when you lift him up and force the students in his class to listen, that’s when you went too far.
Demonstrators gathered in front of this event, rallying with elected officials to express their support for the police. Meanwhile, supporters of the freedom of individual rights in education allowing Jalil Muntaqim to speak sent us a statement explaining that gatherings like these allow for in-depth debate to answer difficult questions and that the University should not give in to outside troublemakers.
Jalil Muntaqim is scheduled to hold his Zoom speech and seminar at SUNY Brockport on Wednesday, April 6. Currently, all Brockport students and staff are open to register for a place.
Members of the public can join if there is additional space from April 5. at 5:00 p.m.