Hundreds show gratitude to police at 'Law Enforcement Appreciation' event

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On the day that thousands of mourners attended the funeral of a slain officer, hundreds of people crammed into an American Legion for a fund-raising event honoring Minnesota police Friday night.

So far, almost $7,000 had been raised for the Officer Down Memorial Page by those who attended the Law Enforcement Appreciation Night in Coon Rapids, according to its Facebook page.

The Star Tribune reports that the event was organized by Missy Rumble, daughter of a retired Coon Rapids officer, was designed following the recent "Black Lives Matter" protests and wider criticism of police conduct to provide an opportunity for people to show their gratitude to their local law enforcement.

The timing of the event was particularly poignant, as earlier in the day, just over 100 miles away, thousands of police officers and citizens attended the funeral of Deputy Steven Sandberg, who was fatally shot by a suspect at St. Cloud Hospital last weekend.

The Star Tribune notes that a moment of silence was held for the Aitkin Sheriff's Deputy.

Among those in attendance was Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart, who according to KARE 11 admitted he had received pressure to not attend the event, which was seen in some quarters as potentially divisive.

But he believed it would have the opposite effect.

"I got letters, phone calls and emails expressing the lack of understanding the slogan 'Police Lives Matter' carries, especially when compared to the 'Black Lives Matter' movement. Police lives matter," he said, KARE 11 reports. "It doesn't mean police lives matter more."

The event was originally called "Police Lives Matter," but according to a discussion on a Facebook event page was changed following some concerns raised about it being set against the "Black Lives Matter" slogan.

The Star Tribune notes that some supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement are critical of "All Lives Matter" and other variations on its name, as this marginalizes their message that serves to highlight "institutional racism and police brutality."

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