Forest Lake, MN- People living in the Northern suburbs are showing their support for police.
A group of roughly 200 residents of Forest Lake and the surrounding area gathered on Broadway Avenue Bridge Thursday night to show support for law enforcement and emergency response personnel.
Thursday was just the first night of the four day event, with participants gathering on the bridge holding signs reading “Honk if you support police” and “Thank you to our police officers for keeping our community safe.”
Local business donated food and other amenities to the vigil, which runs 8:30 to 11 each night through the weekend.
“What inspired me was seeing all these officers losing their lives,” event organizer Joshua Harwell said, “The ones that protect us, the ones that we call when we need help, and they’re losing their innocent lives over nothing. After all that stuff that was going on I felt the need that these officers need to know that there are still people that stand behind them and appreciate what they do.”
Harwell, a general contractor residing in North Branch, said there was no one single event which encouraged him to start organizing the vigil. Rather it is a general sense of hatred of police officers nationwide that inspired the call to action.
While Black Lives Matter protests following the death of Philando Castile have cost the city of St. Paul over $1.5 million, there was no disruption of this event in support of police officers last night.
“I have heard that they were going to show up and be disruptive, but there was no one there last night that was protesting or being destructive towards us,” Harwell said of Black Lives Matter, “This isn’t about the race or your skin tone, or your color. This is about supporting the police whether they’re black, white, green, purple, or orange.”
The event runs through Sunday evening, and Harwell anticipates increased attendance as the weekend goes on.
“Last night there was around two hundred people in attendance. Tonight and tomorrow night we expect to double that and maybe even triple that on Saturday night,” Harwell said.