Groups protest Billy Graham’s dinner for law enforcement in Bellevue on Tuesday


The late preacher has been criticized for his take on the LGBTQ + community and Tuesday’s event drew protesters, both online and in person.

BELLEVUE, Washington – The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is hosting a “Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner” for Seattle police officers in Bellevue on Tuesday night.

The late preacher has been criticized for his take on the LGBTQ + community and Tuesday’s event drew protesters, both online and in person.

“Our approach is to always have an environment where people can express themselves safely,” said Major Andrew Popochock of the Bellevue Police Department (BPD).

BPD called Tuesday’s event a private dinner and said the police department’s only role is to make sure everything is safe.

Despite being billed as a night to honor law enforcement, Seattle Police are parting ways with the event.

In mid-April, Acting Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz released a statement saying that the event’s organizers did not share the same “inclusive values” of his department, especially when it came to LGBTQ + issues.

While several groups said they were planning to protest on Tuesday, one group in particular drew attention for telling people to “block”, meaning to dress all in black and bring “posters, chalk and eggs”.

“There is actually a series of protests going on, one of them involves a group that has actually uploaded some rhetoric that concerns us a lot and that’s why we reacted a little differently to this one. compared to other events like this that are happening in the city, ”Popochock said.

Following Tuesday’s event, Bellevue police said only one person was arrested for assaulting a police officer. Otherwise, events remained peaceful.

In October 2020, Bellevue’s police chief issued an emergency order briefly banning anyone from owning anything that could be used as a weapon in the city in order to curb what he believed to be potential violence.

So-called “black bloc” protesters are nothing new to western Washington.

On May 1 of this year, less than two weeks ago, a KING 5 news crew was confronted with a group who in this case disliked cameras. A protester hit a news camera with an umbrella.

Seattle police made 14 arrests that night.

KING 5 law enforcement analyst and former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best offered her insight into the police response during May 1.

“I think they did a relatively good job in doing this. Trying to balance both the First Amendment right to free speech but not that people engage in criminal activity that destroys property or hurt others, ”Best said.


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