About 40 people gathered in front of the Monroe Public Safety Center to protest the reinstatement of a Monroe police officer Tuesday.
In March, Officer Doug Lambert was terminated from the police department after posting comments following the Ferguson, Missouri case involving Michael Brown. Lambert was reinstated by the Monroe Civil Service Board and put on a 90-day suspension without pay, and required to take sensitivity training.
The advocacy group, Innovative Leaders of Tomorrow held Tuesday’s rally. ILT Founder Michael Abrams says some community members feel Lambert’s actions are unacceptable for someone in a position of public service. "We feel that with his mindset and negative outlook towards blacks, there's no way he can be fair to us in a job that is so critical," said Abrams.
Monroe resident Pat Morris feels there is fear and negativity about police in some neighborhoods. She says the rally can bring better understanding between the two sides. "Unity, with more gatherings like this, it can bring us together and hash things out," she said.
A group of about 15 people were on hand in support of Doug Lambert. Ricky Smith, of Swartz, says Lambert has fulfilled the terms of the civil service board’s ruling and should be back on the force. The board met Tuesday afternoon, affirming Lambert’s reinstatement.
Abrams presented a petition containing a few hundred signatures asking the board to reverse it’s decision. He says his group plans to now focus efforts on removing board members who voted for the reinstatement.