Statement from Sen. Berthel and Rep. Polletta on Watertown’s ‘Back the Blue’ Rally

July 31, 2020

WATERTOWN – State Senator Eric Berthel (R-32) and State Representative Joe Polletta (R-68) released the following statement in connection with the “Back the Blue” rally held on the Watertown Green on July 30.

“The ‘Back the Blue’ rally on the Watertown Green on Thursday evening was attended by hundreds of people who came out to support the men and women of the Watertown Police Department. Participants included business owners, local elected officials, clergy and citizens of our great town, as well as some people who disagreed with the rally.

We spoke and expressed our support for our law enforcement community and our disappointment with the recent police accountability bill that passed through the legislature. We stand with the men and women of the Watertown Police Department and their service to our community.

Unfortunately, a person in attendance at this rally chose to display a confederate flag and to distract from the meaningful intent of this event, which was to support our brave law enforcement officers and the Watertown Police Department.

The confederate flag is a symbol of racism, hate and white supremacy, and we condemn the display of this flag at this rally. We condemn all hate speech and symbols; this applies to all events, for or against, pro or con. Some will argue that freedom of speech is protected under the law. That is true. But freedom of speech does not protect against hatred, bigotry or malicious intent.

We support one flag – old glory – the stars and stripes – the flag of the United States of America.

We remain committed to our work in Hartford as your voices, as your Senator and Representative, to make Connecticut a place that people aspire to come to and not to flee from; to bring attention to and stop bad fiscal policy and to restore fiscal common sense. We firmly believe that Connecticut is worth fighting for and that there is hope for the future.”