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Law enforcement rally draws crowd in heart of Pahrump

The intersection of Highways 160 and 372 was awash with dozens of area residents waving American flags and holding signs in support of Nye County law enforcement on Monday, June 15th.

The spirited and peaceful 5 p.m. rally attracted numerous individuals on the east and west sides of the highway, according to co-organizer Gary Marchinke.

“It was actually my wife’s idea and I have always been strongly supportive of law enforcement,” he said. “I don’t have a law enforcement background, but I have worked security. The thing I want to emphasize is that the rally was in support of Nye County law enforcement, and the Nevada Highway Patrol. It was a very peaceful rally. There was also a recent Black Lives Matter rally here in town. They were on the corner of Basin and Highway 160 and they weren’t causing any problems, and no one was causing them any problems. I really don’t see myself going out in public or doing anything else between now and the election.”

Law enforcement family

Not surprisingly, Pahrump resident Linda DeMeo attended the rally.

DeMeo is the wife of former Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo, who died last July at the age of 67.

“I love my Nye County, and I have been a law enforcement wife for 43 years,” she said. “What’s going on, and how many officers are being killed is an absolute disgrace. Our male and female cops need to know that we have the best in Nye County, and I want them to know that I will support them. I may not always agree, but I support them 10,000 percent.”

DeMeo also dispensed support for others within the community.

“Our first responders, firemen, hospital people, need to know that we appreciate them,” she said. “That includes the clerks at the bank, the people that work at Smith’s, Albertsons, Walmart and our restaurant people. When you see a fireman or a deputy, you should go over and say thank you.”

Difficult career

Chuck Burnett also attended the rally.

Burnett, a nationally certified law enforcement tactical firearms instructor and emergency medical technician, is the owner and operator of Pahrump’s Invictus Training.

“I saw something on Facebook that they were going to have a get-together at this intersection, just to say thank you to law enforcement,” he said. “We do support law enforcement in general because they are really getting vilified right now, because of the actions of a few. We are all accountable for our own actions.”

Burnett also spoke of the demanding career being a law enforcement officer.

“We pay them to do things that we don’t want to do,” he explained. “It’s a really difficult job, but with a clear understanding, we hold them to a pretty high standard as well. This rally is just to say that a lot of police agencies are getting vilified, but we stand with you. That’s my take on it.”

Big turnout for rally

Pahrump resident Barbara Hart-Griffin was also in attendance while holding a Thin Blue Line flag, which is a tribute to police officers killed in the line of duty.

“The crowd is much bigger than I thought it would be,” she noted while waving to drivers passing through the intersection. “We come from a military family and law enforcement. The cops don’t deserve what they have been getting lately and it’s just horrible. I have never seen anything like this before. Growing up as a kid, we all just played together and that’s what it was. There was no color, or no nothing. We were kids and we played, and that’s how I grew up. I don’t understand all this that is going on in the country.”

Shocking images

Marchinke, meanwhile, commented on the arrest of the fired Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd.

Derek Chauvin is facing third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges after kneeling on the neck of Floyd for eight minutes and 46 seconds during a May 25th encounter with Floyd, who allegedly attempted to pass a counterfeit $20 bill to pay for cigarettes at a Minneapolis store.

Three other former officers face aiding and abetting to second-degree murder.

“I was as shocked as anybody to see the photo of that guy with his knee on the man’s neck, just being murdered by the police,” Marchinke said. “There is no other word to describe it, unless you use the word assassinated. That was absolutely an outrage and there is absolutely no defending that. It’s kind of what prompted this rally. That police officer was wrong, and when the police are wrong, they are wrong. People are people and they come with all of their flaws and they have their bad days, and don’t always do the right thing.”

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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