Riverhead ‘Back the Blue’ Rally Canceled

A woman held a sign that said, “We support and pray for our police” at the “Back the Blue” rally and march in Southampton Village on September 5. IndyEastEnd.com/Christine Heeren

The organizer of a “Back the Blue” rally, planned for Saturday in Riverhead, abruptly canceled plans this week.

“I canceled it for my own personal reasons,” Gary Brodman, a Riverhead resident, said over Facebook on Wednesday. The rally was meant to show support for law enforcement.

“The town had nothing to do with the cancelation,” he said, referring to rumors on social media that the town board had squashed the idea. “I can’t give anymore info at this time,” he said.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette M. Aguiar said by phone this week that Brodman had applied for an assembly permit through the Riverhead Police Department, then phoned to say he was pulling the request and canceling the event.

When Brodman announced the cancellation on Facebook, some people suggested still holding the event anyway.

A “Back the Blue” rally and march, organized by a North Sea resident, was successfully held in Southampton Village last weekend. About 300 people turned out to show support for law enforcement and the military. The organizer, who initially had kept his identity a secret, was initially concerned as a backlash built on social media, but went ahead with the rally anyway.

The event sparked a “Black Lives STILL Matter” rally and march later that day in Southampton Village. Both were peaceful.

In mid-August, Brodman announced plans for the Sept. 12 rally on the Peconic Riverhead, saying then that it was to show of support for New York City police officers who “have their hands full with a surge of criminal activity, and they need our support during these trying times.”

“We don’t have to live in the city to show our NYPD that we have their back. This is New York, and we all know that when trouble comes our way, we have each other’s back…regardless of where we reside in this state,”  Brodman wrote.

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