The protests that are developing around the United States in recent weeks were sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, which was captured on video. In the video of Floyd’s death Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin can be seen kneeling on the back of Floyd’s neck until he passes out. As we all now know, Floyd never regained consciousness, and the incident has sparked outrage at police across the country.
While this is a common tactic that police use when they are subduing suspects, it isn’t actually an approved physical technique for any department in the US because there is a very high potential for injury and even death. Still, many police officers continue to do this anyway, because they think that any force is justified while attempting to subdue a suspect.
In Seattle, where protests were especially intense and turned to riots and looting, police were captured on video kneeling on a protester’s neck, much in the same position that killed George Floyd.
The footage was captured outside of a T-Mobile store that was being looted, where police were arresting a protester that they suspected of being involved. In a video taken of the arrest, one of the officers can be seen with his knee on the protester’s neck for about 15 seconds. The bystanders began to yell at the officer to remove his knee from the protester’s neck, but he ignored them.
The onlookers who were on the scene continued to shout at the officers to, “Get your f*cking knee off his neck” and “Get your knee of his neck,” until finally, the second officer on the scene physically removed his partner’s knee from the protester’s neck.
— Matt M. McKnight (@mattmillsphoto) May 31, 2020
The only way that police brutality will stop is if officers start intervening with one another and keep each other in check, because anyone else who attempts to intervene will be risking getting in trouble themselves.
As we reported earlier this week, officers in some cities have decided to welcome the protesters instead of instigating them.
In Camden, New Jersey, police marched with a banner reading “Standing in Solidarity,” and seemed to join in with the crowd chanting “no justice, no peace.” In other jurisdictions, officers joined protesters, or “took a knee” outside of their departments in a symbolic act of solidarity.
Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson was seen telling protesters in Flint, Michigan that he wanted the day’s demonstrations to be more like a parade than a protest. Police in Santa Cruz, California tweeted their support for peaceful protests.
Police departments are presenting these measures as a token of solidarity, but more than likely this is a strategy to de-escalate tensions with protesters and set a tone of peace for the demonstrations. Regardless of the intent, this seems to be a much smarter strategy than shooting the streets up with teargas.
Chattanooga Chief of Police David Roddy made a post on Twitter saying that police officers who don’t have an issue with what happened to George Floyd should turn in their badges.