(TOMS RIVER, N.J.) — A New Jersey restaurant owner says he’s been the target of hate messages after posting support for the police on his electronic billboard.
The brouhaha began when Tony Rivoli featured the posts “I support the police” and “I can breathe, I obey the law” outside his restaurant Rivoli’s in Toms River.
His second message paraphrases the slogan “I can’t breathe,” which has been used in anti-police brutality protests and was supposedly the last words repeatedly spoken by Staten Island street vendor Eric Garner before he died during an arrest.
Rivoli says that cops in Toms River and some residents have no problem with the billboard but others have allegedly called him a racist and worse.
The restaurant owner maintains that as long as people stay out of trouble with the law, they won’t be hassled by police.
As for the grand jury that cleared an NYPD officer in the apparent chokehold death of Garner, Rivoli argues that the anti-cop demonstrations happen when “people can’t accept the truth.”
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