Some police officers across the country are standing in solidarity with protesters against police brutality amid the death of George Floyd.
Officers in Iowa, Kentucky, New York, and Oregon all took a knee while overseeing demonstrations over the weekend — replicating the silent protest of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
POWERFUL. The Lexington Police just kneeled after the protesters asked them to kneel. pic.twitter.com/JZIVWuSpZx— Alex Walker (@AlexWalkerTV) June 1, 2020
Video from Shane Petraszewsky shows the moments that led up to Portland police kneeling in a show of solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters. (Part 1 of 2) pic.twitter.com/X2sehFIxac— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) June 1, 2020
(Part 2 of 2) pic.twitter.com/X8vGndptLZ— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) June 1, 2020
On Sunday, New York Police Department (NYPD) police officers in Queens along with others in Spokane, Wash., and Miami, Flo., also followed suit. Aleeia Abraham, leader of The BlaQue Resource Network, shared the now-viral footage of the NYPD officers’ demonstration in Queens.
During an interview with CNN, she shared a reaction similar to that which can be heard in the video. The audience expressed shock upon seeing the officers kneel.
“I definitely didn’t expect that,” Abraham said. “I’ve never seen that.”
In Michigan, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson’s exchange with protesters also went viral. Swanson approached protesters outside of the Flint Township police station and asked what they would like law enforcement to do.
“We want to be with y’all, for real,” Swanson said of himself and the officers standing behind him. “I took my helmet off, they laid their batons down. I want to make this a parade, not a protest.”
As the crowd of protesters chanted “walk with us,” the footage captures Swanson and the officers joining forces with demonstrators as they began walking together.
Amazing scene unfolding in Flint, Twp, Michigan. Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson has joined protesters in a peaceful march. Read More: https://t.co/4ioyUnymNv @MichStatePolice @GovWhitmer pic.twitter.com/nMCVuXQ0TZ— Mid-Michigan NOW (@midmichigannow) May 31, 2020
Despite the violent protests that have taken place in cities across the United States, the videos that show officers acknowledging the ongoing problem reveal glimmers of hope for the country’s future.
Abraham also noted that while the action is a step in the right direction, protesters are advocating for long-term change and real accountability in law enforcement.
“That’s great, it’s a good sign, but what we’re really looking for is action,” she said. “I’ll be even more impressed when we’re not stepped on and gunned down. That’s the moment I’m looking for.”
Three of the four officers involved in George Floyd’s death while in police custody have not been arrested or charged.
According to Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, the officers’ silence and failure to intervene signals complicity.
Protesters have expressed concern about the officers being held accountable for their involvement while urging other officers to stand on the side of justice.