Officers in some cities have decided to welcome the protesters instead of instigating them. According to Forbes, in Camden, New Jersey, and other cities, police have engaged with protesters peacefully and showed gestures of respect.
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
In Camden, 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.
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
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.
There is no need to see more video. There no need to wait to see how “it plays out”. There is no need to put a knee on someone’s neck for NINE minutes. There IS a need to DO something. If you wear a badge and you don’t have an issue with this…turn it in. pic.twitter.com/frNCAWCeq6
— David Roddy (@ChiefDavidRoddy) May 27, 2020
The protests that have spread around the country in recent weeks are in response to the police killing of George Floyd. The Minneapolis police arrested officer Derek Chavin in hopes to quell the protests, but the demonstrations have continued and expanded throughout the country.
Chauvin is the recently fired officer who was seen in the now-viral video in which Floyd was killed. Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he gasped for air and begged for his life. He has been with the Minneapolis Police Department for 19 years, and in that time, he has been involved in multiple shootings in which people were killed, and has had multiple excessive force complaints during his career.
The case has become so controversial because of the blatant use of force shown in the footage, but also because the evidence shows that Floyd was entirely complaint and peaceful throughout the arrest, and that there was no reason to be so forceful with him. The incident is such a flashpoint across the country because it has become a symbol of the experiences that so many other people in the country have with police.
Police initially said Floyd was resisting arrest and had a medical incident. However, surveillance video obtained by CBS News showed Floyd cooperating with the officers, and video of his death clearly shows that he was not resisting.
The videos to initially surface of the incident showed the moments where officer Derek Chauvin had Floyd pinned to the ground with his knee on Floyd’s neck. In those videos, Floyd was not fighting or struggling with the officers at all, but police claimed that he was resisting after he was first taken out of his car. Now, surveillance camera footage that was released from a nearby restaurant shows Floyd being removed from his car by police without resisting. The new video shows him being taken from the car and placed in handcuffs, which means that he had no opportunity to resist.