Back the Blue
Back the Blue supporters came out this weekend to show their backing for law enforcement in general and rookie South Whitehall Police Officer Jonathan Roselle, in particular.
The Aug. 12 rally, at the entrance to the Comfort Suites, 3712 Hamilton Blvd., South Whitehall Township, was organized by Cory Fatzinger of New Tripoli.
Roselle was charged with voluntary manslaughter following the July 28 shooting death of Joseph Santos of Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., near the hotel.
Roselle shot Santos after he allegedly failed to follow commands to get down on the ground as he approached the police department SUV.
This followed reports of Santos interfering with traffic along Hamilton Boulevard.
“We are supporting Officer Jonathan Roselle and all law enforcement officers,” Fatzinger told The Press. “The cops are here to do the job that most can’t.”
The rally, for the most part, was peaceful until about 3:30 p.m. when Valerie Chambers, of Allentown, allegedly began arguing with Mike Cepress of Catasauqua about the shooting and the rally.
“All you want to do is divide America,” she told Cepress after calling him Blue ISIS.
“You are promoting hatred,” Cepress replied.
Before Chambers was escorted away by friends, and before two other arguments ensued, three Upper Macungie police officers arrived on scene.
As two of the officers stood close by watching and listening to the adults argue, a young boy, Severin Johnson Jr., of Bethlehem, walked up to and spoke with Upper Macungie Police Officer Mike Cardell, who knelt down to speak with the youngster.
First Severin asked Cardell if he was a police officer.
Then, they discussed the youngster’s Thomas the Tank Engine shirt, and what he did the previous day with his dad.
Before the event, retired South Whitehall Police Sgt. Jeffery Natysyn spoke with The Press.
“There are no winners in this,” he said.
Others who commented about the fatal shooting and Back the Blue included Ronald Angstadt of Allentown, Ron Chaplin of South Whitehall, Mary Summers Storm of Palmerton and Janice Smith of Dorneyville.
Angstadt said the first thing he thought of when he heard about the shooting was the recent Route 33 shooting of a Pennsylvania state trooper following a traffic stop.
“I am here to support Officer Roselle,” Angstadt said. “All he was doing, was doing his job.”
Chaplin said Roselle was following his law enforcement training to protect his gun and the public.
Storm, who was there with Chaplin, also commented.
“We support law and order in South Whitehall Township,” Storm said.
Smith’s reason for being there was a bit more personal.
“I am all for police protecting me,” Smith told The Press.