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Protests Support Police, Demand Change As Slain NYPD Cop Honored

A large demonstration in Cleveland supported police as other marches called for change Saturday, the same day Rafael Ramos was laid to rest.

Demonstrators supporting law enforcement rallied in Cleveland and Denver Saturday as other protesters opposing racial profiling and the deaths of unarmed black men by police held demonstrations in Los Angeles and Chicago.

The demonstrations supporting law enforcement and those protesting police killings occurred on the same day that a funeral was held for a New York City Police Department officer who was killed by a gunman believed to have referenced recent unrest online.

Thousands of people in downtown Cleveland attended a "Sea of Blue" rally in support of law enforcement officers, with some holding signs that read slogans like, "blue bleeds red for all people." Tensions in Cleveland have been high after a police officer in November fatally shot a 12-year-old boy who had a pellet gun.

"We need everyone to see we are not bad," Donna Brown, a Cleveland police officer, said. "We need them to come up to us and say ‘I need help.'" There were also pro-police rallies in Denver, Des Moines and Seattle Saturday.

But protesters calling for reform in the wake of the deaths of unarmed black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner after confrontations with white police officers continued Saturday. A crowd several city blocks long marched in Los Angeles and hundreds attended a rally led by the Rev. Jesse Jackson Saturday.

"We’re out here today to raise awareness about some of the political injustice that’s occurring around the nation," organizer Keshad Adeniyi told NBC News during the protest in Los Angeles. "There’s things that continue to happen to members of this culture ... we support the police who are doing the right things."

In New York Saturday, a funeral was held for NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos, who was shot dead along with Officer Wenjian Liu as both sat in their patrol car Dec. 20. Police say the gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, is believed to have made threats online that he would kill police officers, in posts that also referenced the deaths of Brown and Garner.



— Phil Helsel