A young black protester took a knee and told baton-wielding police officers "I love you" as he made a peaceful plea for unity - but he was arrested and thrown in jail.

The shocking scene unfolded during a demonstration in the US city of Charleston, South Carolina, following the police killing of George Floyd.

Givionne “Gee” Jordan Jnr, 23, kneeled in front of more than a dozen officers wearing riot gear, telling them "I am not your enemy, you are not my enemy" during an impassioned speech as other demonstrators - black and white - crouched around him in solidarity.

But a group of officers wearing gas masks emerged from behind the line and appeared to single out Mr Jordan as he was pulled to his feet, handcuffed and led away.

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Givionne “Gee” Jordan Jnr (wearing a red do-rag) kneels in front of the officers

After spending the night in jail, Mr Jordan told the Post and Courier he wanted the protesters to kneel to show "we are no threat" to police.

He was charged with disobeying a lawful order, a police report stated.

The local police chief has defended the officers' actions, claiming the clip didn't capture everything that was happening at the protest.

Footage of Sunday's demonstration has gone viral on Twitter, where it has been viewed more than 26 million times.

Mr Jordan kneeled in front of officers wielding batons and wearing face shields

In the video, Mr Jordan, from Charleston, tells the officers: "We are all people. All of you are my family.

"I love each and every one of you. I cry at night because I feel your pain. I feel the pain of black people.

"I feel the pain of white people. I feel the pain of innocent cops. I feel the pain. We're all scared - black, white, cop - doesn't matter.

"We're living in fear. We gotta stop living in fear. I am not your enemy. You are not my enemy. We share this land no matter what."

He adds: "I'm not angry at none of you. I love you and I respect you. I want to understand ya'll.

"I would love to come to your house. I would love to meet your kids. I would love to meet your families.

"I would love to see the best side of everybody here. This is not the best side of everybody here.

"Then you can take the whole perspective of how you do someone, because of their side, because of how you see them in a different light.

Other demonstrators crouched around Mr Jordan in solidarity

"We gotta stop judging people only on our bad days. We all have them to some degree. How are you on your good days?"

"Do you want to make a stand? Do you want to make a change? Because if we charge you and you charge us, what is that really doing?"

Police then approach Mr Jordan and arrest him as demonstrators scream "what are you doing?"

A woman shouts: "Are you f***ing kidding me?"

Mr Jordan later told the Post and Courier he attended the protest in Marion Square with about 200 others after volunteering to clean up streets and board up shops in the city centre following a night of unrest on Saturday.

He said: “My plan was to get all the people beside me, kneeling behind me, kneeling with me.

"Showing the cops that we are no threat. We are no threat at all. We just want to make the world better.”

Afterwards, Police Chief Luther Reynolds defended the officers and claimed that the protest had become tense and the crowd was ordered to disperse.

He added: “We specifically asked for them, numerous times, to disperse. We said if you don’t you will be arrested.”

More than 60 people have been arrested in Charleston since protests over Mr Floyd's death began last week.

Saturday night's protests descended into violence with clashes between police and demonstrators, looting and fires as a curfew was ignored.

Police cars were torched, shops were ransacked and gunfire was reported.