OGDEN -- About 30 demonstrators treated downtown lunch hour traffic Friday to a sign-waving rally in support of accused cop-killer Matthew Stewart, culminating in a megaphone-led chanting session at the Weber Center.
Four Ogden patrol cars were visible on 24th Street, parked at the south side of the center as the rally wound down shortly after 1 p.m.
The number of media that showed up, counting reporters and cameramen, appeared equal to the number of signs on display, about a dozen of each.
The signs read "Disband the Strike Force," "Stop Using our Police as Pawns" and "Your House Could Be Next." Speakers offered their views on the need to end the war on drugs and police brutality.
Stewart is charged with aggravated murder and faces the death penalty in the Jan. 4 shooting death of Ogden Officer Jared Francom and the wounding of five other officers during a raid by the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force.
Stewart was also wounded in the shootout at his Ogden home.
One of the wounded officers was Kasey Burrell. His father, Kevin, and a friend drove from Clinton to watch the rally.
They briefly confronted some of the demonstrators verbally in front of the Weber Center.
"The cops did their job," Burrell repeated in the brief exchanges.
After a few minutes, he walked away and spoke with some of the uniformed officers who watched from a few yards away, and a few reporters.
"I'm here to give a little support to the cops," he said. "I'm tired of hearing about Stewart's rights. ... As far as I'm concerned, they're glorifying Matthew Stewart."
Erna Stewart, Stewart's sister-in-law and one of the organizers of the rally, said as the rally was ending she wished she had known Kevin Burrell was there so she could have talked with him.
"We know that we have a lot of people who don't understand where we are coming from, that there's a lot of hostility," she said.
"We have friends and family (working in Weber County police agencies), and our goal is keep police safe, too. ... We love our police officers."
The demonstration began at noon at the corner of 25th Street and Washington Boulevard. Rally participants displayed their signs for 20 minutes before a practice session, with chants led by organizer Jesse Fruhwirth, local activist and former journalist, who brought his megaphone.
They walked to the Weber Center as they alternated several chants, including "no justice, no peace, no violent police."
At the Weber Center, Fruhwirth led about 20 minutes of chanting. Six members of the group went in to deliver a "warrant" to the county attorney's office -- an open records request for information on all officer-involved shootings in Weber County reviewed by the office since early in 2009, when Dee Smith took the job.
They chose to have six deliver the GRAMA request because six officers entered Matthew Stewart's home the night of Jan. 4, triggering the shootout.
Erna Stewart, who was among the six delivering the request, said the written records request was politely received by the office receptionist, then they left.
"We hadn't intended to confront anybody in the office," she said.
An event page created off one of the Matthew Stewart Facebook pages calls Stewart a "POW: Prisoner of War in the War on Drugs."
On Tuesday, the page listed 1,219 people invited to the Friday rally, with 74 who responded as "going," along with 52 "maybes."
After the raid, officials said 16 marijuana plants and a grow system were confiscated from Stewart's home.
Burrell said it was a miracle his son survived the shooting.
He said Kasey hasn't lost his enthusiasm for police work and is expected back on the job soon, pending medical clearances.
Stewart is being held without bail. His three-day preliminary hearing on the nine felony charges he faces begins July 18 in 2nd District Court.
A hearing is set for Tuesday to consider a defense request to schedule a closed hearing to keep confidential the debate about hiring a second investigator for Stewart, the investigator to be paid out of county funds.