New Hampshire

3 Members of NH Law Enforcement Join Protesters

At a protest in Keene, the Cheshire County sheriff and the Keene police chief held posters in support of George Floyd

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Instead of patrolling a protest in Keene, New Hampshire, this week, three members of local law enforcement decided to participate.

The images at Wednesday night's protest are now going viral, and show three law enforcement officers with their own posters that read, "We hear you!"

Manchester resident Jacob Chiza was at the protest for George Floyd and spoke to the crowd of hundreds of people at the event.

"Enough is enough," he said. "We're tired of being disrespected. We're tired of being followed around the stores," Chiza said.

He said it's time his voice is heard and Cheshire County Sheriff Eli Rivera says he's listening.

"This was my riot shield yesterday," Rivera said explaining the white poster with black writing he held at the protest.

Rivera, along with Keene Police Chief Steven Russo and Keene Officer Cristina Paterno made their own posters, and instead of patrolling the Wednesday night rally, they also participated.

"I'm here to listen to what they have to say, and this is what I wrote," Rivera explained.

"When I saw their signs I was like, 'Whoa, they're actually hearing us. Now they hear us,'" Chiza said.

Chiza said he was surprised by the signs, but also by the fact that the three officers were the only law enforcement there.

"Because everywhere we went there has been a whole SWAT team because that's what they think we are going to do is cause violence," he said.

But in Keene, there was no violence and not a single arrest. Instead, a sign, or rather a poster, of progress.

"There is a lot more that I need to do once I walk away," Rivera said. "I need to go back, sit down, look at my policies, look at what we're doing and how can I be the voice for them."

The sheriff's "We Hear You" sign is now on the wall in his office, he says, as a daily reminder to follow through on the promises he made to those protestors.

Rivera and Russo said they will continue to support peaceful rallies and protect the protestors so they can keep making their voices heard.

"It's very touching because we've been suffering long enough," Chiza said. "Hearing that the Keene Police Department is saying they hear us, that they got us, and that they will help us really means a lot – that's all we wanted from the start."

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