A white Michigan sheriff — along with several of his officers —ditched riot gear to march alongside black protesters in Flint Township.
As protesters gathered to march for George Floyd, the unarmed black man who died last Monday in police custody in Minneapolis, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson moved to join them. (RELATED: Trump, White Supremacists And Russia: Here’s Who Democrats Have Blamed For Riots So Far)
“I want to make this a parade, not a protest!” he announced as he explained to the crowd that he and his officers did not have any interest in fighting them.
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
“I took the helmet off, laid the batons down,” Swanson said, motioning toward his officers and adding, “These cops love you. That cop over there, he hugs people. So you tell us what you need to do.”
The crowd began to cheer and slowly the chant grew louder and louder: “Walk with us! Walk with us! Walk with us!”
Swanson was not the only law enforcement officer to try such a tactic. Camden County Police Chief Joe Wysocki also joined a march in New Jersey, wearing a protective face mask and his uniform.
— Camden County Police (@CamdenCountyPD) May 31, 2020
Police officers in Miami, Florida, took a knee outside their station in deference to protesters.
— Ken Olin (@kenolin1) May 31, 2020
Cops in Santa Cruz, California, did the same.
Powerful image of the protest in Santa Cruz this morning. Mayor Justin Cummings and Police Chief Andrew Mills took a knee in solidarity. (????: Shmuel Thaler.) pic.twitter.com/EQ36VNIKtC
— Heather Knight (@hknightsf) May 30, 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
As did police officers in Ferguson, Missouri.
Ferguson Police Take A Knee In Honor Of George Floydhttps://t.co/VvxYQzvJAJ
— sylvaners (@Sylvaners) May 31, 2020