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Back the Blue rally, counter-protesters gather at state capital

About 50 protesters showed up, along with about 10 counter-protesters. But their message was still loud and clear.
Credit: FOX61
People protesting the new police accountability law at a "Back The Blue" rally at the state Capitol Saturday morning. Gov. Lamont signed the legislation into law on Friday.

HARTFORD, Conn — One day after Gov. Lamont signed the controversial police accountability bill into law, crowds gathered once again in front of the State Capitol for a "Back the Blue" rally. Counter-protesters were also on the scene.

Organizers of the "Back the Blue" rally said their message was simple: Support the police.

Saturday's protest saw smaller turn-out than other "Back the Blue" rallies that were held leading up to the vote on the controversial police accountability bill.

About 50 protesters showed up, along with about 10 counter-protesters. But their message was still loud and clear.

"We want to make sure that people are actually held accountable and that there is actual real reform in police departments and defunding," said Joanna Iovino with Citizens Opposed to Police States.

The rally remained peaceful and non-violent for its duration, but tensions were on display when a minutes-long verbal argument broke out between protesters and counter-protesters.

The newly passed legislation mandates implicit bias training and mental health assessments for officers, requires the use of body and dash cameras, and bans choke-holds among other measures.

However, the most controversial aspect of the bill deals with qualified immunity for officers.

The legislation drew reaction from both sides at the rally.

“I am glad that it was passed. I think some of the language was a little bit weakened — especially related to qualified immunity. We still have a lot of things to do to make sure we do hold them accountable," said Iovino.

"The bill was rushed. Connecticut is now pushing cops to leave this state. So you’re going to have the guys that are trained to do it the right way leaving and now you’re going to have to hope that you can recruit enough people. It was already difficult as it is," said Buccheri.