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Organizers cancel crime victims rally over anti-law enforcement sentiment

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POSTED January 28, 2015 7:48 p.m.

SACRAMENTO . (AP) — An annual crime victims rally that has drawn law enforcement, governors and other dignitaries to the state Capitol has been canceled this year over worries about rising anti-police sentiment.

Harriet Salarno, founder of Crime Victims United of California, said Wednesday that demonstrators have shown up at the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week march and rally each of the last two years.

The April event, which had been held for a quarter-century, is sponsored by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the union that represents prison guards.

“They’re law enforcement,” Salarno said. “It’s so sad that we’ve come to these kinds of protests even on marches, and doing this to the victims of violent crime.”

Although there is no specific threat, she said fears of a confrontation have only grown with nationwide protests after grand juries in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City decided not to charge white police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men.

Protesters had been kept separate from the rally, but Salarno said that last year the mother of a fallen police officer was involved in a confrontation as she left the event. Salarno said the woman had minor bruises, and a lapel button with a photograph of her slain son was torn from her clothing.

The California Highway Patrol and Sacramento police could not immediately confirm the incident.

Salarno said a Capitol news conference and display of photographs of crime victims on April 20 will replace the rally.

“Victims’ rights week has not been stopped. We’re going forward. We’re just doing different things,” she said.

Jevaughn Baker, a spokesman for the prison guards union, declined to comment.

Gov. Jerry Brown has attended the rally since he took office again in 2011, but spokesman Evan Westrup declined to comment.

 

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