Steve Bannon accepts award, draws protest in Tucson

Published: Nov. 19, 2017 at 2:00 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 11:15 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A former member of President Trump's Administration, Steve Bannon, was in Tucson on Saturday night to receive an award. But many Tucsonans stood in opposition to Bannon's visit because of his views and ties to Breitbart News, a conservative network.

Steve Bannon was the keynote speaker at the Brian Terry Foundation Courage Awards and Benefit Dinner at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort. The Brian Terry Foundation was created to support the families of fallen Border Patrol agents. Brian Terry was a Border Patrol agent who was shot and killed seven years ago by armed robbers near Rio Rico.

Dozens came out to protest the arrival of Steve Bannon.

"That person is a bigot, a racist a Nazi sympathizer and a self-proclaimed white nationalist which is another word for a Nazi – us in Tucson do not stand for that," Protester, Yekaterina Karankevich said.

Some people waived signs that said "Ban Bannon" and "go home." But there were also those who welcomed his arrival. They said they stand behind his work for the Breitbart News Network.

"Our main message is to support our border security where an officer was killed. The left wants to paint us as racists and bigots and KKK because we want a secure border, and that's not okay," Jennifer Harrison said.

Border Patrol Agent, Brian Terry's death prompted an investigation and discovery of an operation known as the "Fast and Furious scandal." That's where the ATF allowed licensed firearm dealers to sell weapons to illegals hoping to track the guns to the drug cartel leaders but agents reportedly lost track of more than 1,000 guns during the operation. Two of those firearms were found at the scene where Terry was shot. The Brian Terry Foundation praised Bannon and Breitbart News for keeping the story front and center.

"He knows about the plight of the Terry family. He remembers the Operation Fast and Furious that put guns in the hands of the men that killed Brian. So we're excited to have Steve here to talk about Border Security," Robert Heyer, Chairman of Brian Terry Foundation said.

Bannon took the stage on Saturday and was awarded the Brian Terry Courage in Journalism and Reporting Award for Breitbart News Network's coverage of Fast and Furious.

"Brian Terry laid down his life for his friends, his family, his community and his country. I don't think you'll meet a braver man," Bannon said.

Despite what your position is on Bannon, the Foundation said everyone has a right to freedom of speech.

"You can agree with the speaker, you can disagree with the speaker, that's our right as Americans. That's one of the reasons Brian did what he did," Heyer said.

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