The Westboro Baptist Church is planning to protest the funeral of shooting victim Gloria Leonidas according to their website. A message was posted saying:
Westboro Baptist Church will picket the funeral of Gloria Koch Leonidas. God sent the shooter to the coffee shop and executed HIS judgment….
The rest of the hateful message will not be included here but can be verified with a simple web search.
The funeral is set for Thursday, June 7th at 11:00am and already an effort is underway to organize public supporters to show up and peacefully shield the Leonidas family during this difficult time. The Westboro site says they’ll be there from 10:15 to 10:45am. They’ve been known to not show up in the past…
The Stranger has posted about this as well, with sage advice on how to handle Westboro:
Anyone planning to attend the counter-demonstration should bear in mind that the Phelps clan may enjoy baiting counter-protesters into physical confrontations. If you go, don’t give Westboro Baptist Church what it wants. Don’t give them the confrontation they want. Don’t assist them in disrupting the funeral of Gloria Leonidas.
Just turn your backs on them.
Turn your back, remain silent and be there for Gloria above all else.
According to the Sammamish-Issaquah Patch, the Leonidas family’s funeral director has relayed a message from the family that all protesters, including counter-protesters, be asked to leave. The director believes the hateful protesters likely will not show up – as happened with the Tacoma funeral for the Powell children earlier this year. Even so, police have developed techniques for making such protests virtually invisible (through experiences with their own fallen officers, among many others) and better — a 2007 Washington State law prohibits protests of all kinds at funeral events.