Law enforcement, supporters hold “All Lives Matter” rally in Huntsville

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)-- The rally at the Huntsville Public Safety Complex began with simple words: "Police lives matter, all lives matter."

Law enforcement and their supporters came, despite the rain, to share that message as a team.

"You are sworn to protect and serve the public. And in doing so, you make a commitment... there is a passion [for] that," commented Bill Davis, of the Fraternal Order of Police.

This was the second of several planned similar events across the state of Alabama, aimed at spreading appreciation for law enforcement. The group honored those who are serving honorably and also, those who died during duty. An officer led a riderless horse to the sound of bagpipes playing "Amazing Grace," before the solemn crowd after speeches were finished.

"We can not let the negativity in the community and in this nation keep us from doing our jobs," David Crews, a retired Birmingham Police officer, told the group gathered at the rally.

Right off the bat, though, speakers admitted certain recent events like one in Madison where a police officer has been charged with assault and recommended for termination after an encounter with an Indian man, may not look the best.

"They are out there doing a hard job," said attorney Scott Moro who was emceeing the event. "Right here in Madison County there was an event that occurred that was controversial and that's been handled. But it just goes to show that there is accountability."

Madison County Sheriff Blake Dorning shared a more emotional message, discussing the importance of police work.

"We have an ugly job," he said, "a very ugly job. Things that no other people in society want to take part [in.]"

He said police training is rigorous and repetitive enough to be a saving grace in those split-second decision moments officers may face.

"When you're afraid, and I've been afraid," he admitted, "you're going to revert back to what you've been trained to do."

The notion here at the rally was solidarity. The speakers invited everyone else to share that with them by assisting police, citing the "move-over" law and a community responsibility to report crimes.

"We're all in this together," commented Don Rizzardi, representing the Madison County District Attorney's office.

"The focus of today is all lives matter," said Chief Lewis Morris, "and that's why we're here. We're here to protect lives."