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Mayor Scharfenberger: ACLU criticism of Middletown pro-law enforcement rally is absurd

Monday, October 24, 2016 9:19
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Middletown Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, Phd, said that the ACLU’s objection to the ceremony at Middletown High School South last week honoring law enforcement, fire, first aid and military personnel is “absurd” and inconsistent with the organizations mission of protecting free speech.

“The citizens of Middletown, Toms River and beyond gathered on Friday night and proudly expressed their support for the men and women of law enforcement and the military who routinely risk their lives to protect the right of free expression, even of speech that they personally abhor,” said Scharfenberger. “The ACLU’s objections to the peaceful demonstration of support for our men and women in uniform is ridiculous and absurd, however it is their right to express their thoughts just as it is for the thousands of people Friday night to express their gratitude and love of their country.  The spontaneous chant of USA erupting from the crowd and the spirit in the air emanating from the crowd of all races, ages and ethnicities was something none of us will ever forget.  I was honored and humbled to be a part of this magnificent salute to the brave men and women in uniform and thank God everyday for their service to our community and our country.

The “Salute the USA” event was held on Friday prior to the Middletown South-Toms River North High School football game.  It included over 100 uniformed personnel including two police officers who were shot last month during the arrest of the alleged terrorist who set off bombs in Seaside Park and New York City.

Middletown Deputy Police Chief Stephen Dollinger told The Asbury Park Press that the event was a response to professional athletes who have refused to stand during the National Anthem during the beginning ceremonies of sporting events. “It’s OK to stand up for social justice, inequality and reform,” Dollinger said. “It’s another thing to not stand up for the national anthem.”

The North Jersey Chapter of the ACLU, the Central Jersey Chapter of National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the Greater Long Brach NAACP said that the ceremony and Dollinger’s comment send “a frightening message.”

What’s really frightening is that ACLU spokesperson Dianna Houenou has a law degree.

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