Entering the fifth day of hectic protests and riots that were triggered by the sad death of George Floyd, social media was flooded with numerous pictures and videos of police offers brandishing their batons and using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesting crowds. Apart from these scenes, there were also other pictures of the police force joining these protesters to acknowledge and convey their support against police brutality and to show unity for the anti-racism movement.
Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson was seen telling protesters in Flint, Michigan, “We want to be with y’all, for real. I took my helmet off, laid the batons down. I want to make this a parade, not a protest,” afterwards he joined the gathered crowd to march with them that erupted in cheers.
“Standing in Solidarity,” a banner officers in Camden, New Jersey, helped carry and who seemed to be joining in with the crowds repeating the words “no justice, no peace.”
Police Chief Andy Mills and his department from Santa Cruz, California, knelt in the pose that was made legendary by Colin Kaepernick and tweeting that it was “in memory of George Floyd & bringing attention to police violence against Black people.”
In Kansas City, Missouri, one white man and one black man, both police officers were photographed holding aloft a sign reading “end police brutality”.
“We are one race… The HUMAN race.” was a sign held up by an officer from Fargo, North Dakota who was seen with the organizers of the protests clasping hands together.
A 9 and a half minute kneeling protest participated by officers from Ferguson, Missouri was held in George Floyd’s memory and was echoed by cheers from the crowds.
Oh my God it’s happening in Flint too.
Protesters chanted: “WALK WITH US!!”
— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) May 31, 2020
In Camden, NJ, protestors took to the streets to peacefully protest racial injustice.
When police saw them marching, they did something.
— Beth Doane (@BethDoane) May 31, 2020
SCPD is fully supportive of peaceful protests @CityofSantaCruz and we always keep them safe.
Hundreds gathered on Pacific Ave in #SantaCruz, taking a knee together in memory of George Floyd & bringing attention to police violence against Black people. PhotoCredit @Shmuel_Thaler pic.twitter.com/EmfAfcIZaM
— Santa Cruz Police (@SantaCruzPolice) May 30, 2020
Apparently cops in Kansas City joined the local protest against police brutality. And my first reaction was to say something smart ass. But this is truly a start. pic.twitter.com/e3sUwaR16h
— Dylan (@dyllyp) May 30, 2020
— Bailey Hurley (@BaileyHurleyVNL) May 30, 2020
Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields made remarks that were all over the internet. Even though she didn’t join the crowds, it was clear where her support lay.
“Let me tell you something, I am standing here because what I saw was my people face to face with this crowd and everybody’s thinking ‘how can we use force and diffuse this’ and I’m not having it. I’m not having that,”
“You have a right to be upset, to be scared, and to want to yell. And we’re going to have everybody doing what they need to do and we’re going to do it safely. That’s my first commitment. And I hear you.”
Since the 25th of May, many protests have been happening in support and acknowledgement of the death of George Floyd, a black man and Minneapolis resident, and the circumstances of how it happened. Video footage where a white police officer was captured kneeling on Floyd’s neck while in the process of his arrest.
Floyd was heard crying out “I can’t breathe.” whilst 3 other officers who just stood by and that have now been dismissed; while Derek Chauvin was shown to be kneeling on his neck. Derek Chauvin has been arrested and charge with 3rd-degree murder.
Hundred of years of universal racism, endless anger at police and also the Coronavirus outbreak has resulted in unemployment and discontent has caused a combination of events to result in volatile unrest. Rubber bullets, tear gas, flash-bang grenades were used to disperse crowds and journalists across the country that joined together to protest. Many events of physical violence occurred too. A photojournalist from Minneapolis has been forever blinded in one eye after a rubber bullet was shot into her face. A woman from Brooklyn, New York was roughly thrown to the ground and a NYPD SUV was also captured driving right through crowd of protesters.