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Why is the Advocate spreading misinformation about the rally to support the police?

*Updated 8/3/2020 @10:23pm

Today’s Advocate includes a front-page article on yesterday’s rally to “Back the Blue,” where hundreds of Stamford residents came to the old Stamford Police Station to show their support for Stamford’s police.

It takes the Advocate only six paragraphs to misinform its readers.

“As demonstrators approached the steps of 805 Bedford St.” the Advocate explains, “they carried signs that read, ‘Police Lives Matter,’ ‘I Got Your Back,’ ‘Defend Not Defund’ and ‘Free Derek Chauvin.’”

Stop right there. “Free Derek Chauvin”? That name sounds familiar, and for good reason. “Chauvin” the Advocate continues, “is the former Minneapolis police officer who is charged with murder in the killing of George Floyd on May 25. Floyd’s killing set off a series of protests around the world.”

Since the events in Minneapolis, Chauvin’s actions have drawn almost universal condemnation from across the political spectrum. So, were there actually “Back the Blue” supporters who sought to have him freed?

No. The sign was held by a protester trolling the event.

As always, if you have to explain a joke, it’s no longer funny, but here’s your explanation all the same. The protester sought to “trick” police supporters into agreeing that Chauvin should be supported, thus showing that “pro-police” supporters hold absurd views.

As best I could tell, he did not have much success, as the Stamford police department escorted him to a segregated area where counterprotesters, including about a dozen individuals holding “Black Lives Matter” signs or wearing t-shirts, had been directed to congregate.

However, whether borne of ignorance or malice, the Advocate has created the impression that Stamford’s police rallygoers caustically support Chauvin.

If the Advocate had simply wanted to paint the “pro-police” crowd in a negative light, they could have done so honestly. Having attended the rally, it is my understanding that Michael Picard, a protester whose Stamford police run-ins we have covered previously, had his sign illegally confiscated by Stamford police for a period of time before having it returned.

[Update: It is now my understanding that it was not Picard, but the protester with the "Free Derek Chauvin" sign whose sign was confiscated.]

But the Advocate did not cover Picard’s protest and subsequent treatment by the Stamford police department. Instead, they attributed to police supporters an incendiary position they did not hold.

If the Advocate is interested in accurately representing the events of yesterday’s rally, a clarification will be made in a future edition. If no clarification is forthcoming, that will give our readers a sense of just how interested the Advocate is in good, honest reporting.