BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) – From victims' families to local law enforcement, a strong show of support was outside the federal courthouse in Boston where the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect made his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon.
One of the courthouse marshals said to FOX 25's Heather Hegedus that the real story isn't what's happening inside the courtroom where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was making his plea, but what was going on outside where MIT police officers were making a statement of their own.
"They can support him. They can't bring him back, but they can honor his memory," MIT Police Officer John DiFava said.
Standing at attention, more than 20 MIT police officers stood shoulder-to-shoulder in full uniform in the thick, muggy July air. They formed a line of solidarity facing the courthouse where the man accused of taking the life of one of their brothers and hurting so many innocent people would be showing his face for the first time since he was captured.
The MIT men and women stood there for more than an hour to keep the memory of beloved MIT Police Officer Sean Collier alive, and the officers organized the display themselves.
Some of the officers wore a Collier wristband imprinted with the number "179" which was the 26-year-old's badge number. His loss is a loss each of the officers feels every day.
"I don't think it will ever heal. I think we're a generation away from getting over it. But they function well, they do their job well - but there's a loss," DiFava said.
Another police department impacted by the marathon bombings was the Watertown Police Department. The manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers ended up in the city's backyard.
Watertown's Police Chief was also in the courtroom Wednesday.
"We just want, everybody wants, to see justice served. I have tremendous confidence in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the prosecution," Watertown Chief Ed Deveau said.
MIT and the Water Police Department have both vowed to make sure they always have a representative in the courtroom through the entire legal process.