Dozens of police officers in North Carolina knelt in unison with George Floyd protesters "as a show of understanding" - with some reportedly brought to tears.

During a tense standoff with demonstrators on Monday calling for justice in the wake of the unarmed black man's death while in custody in Minneapolis, 60 officers stunned onlookers by kneeling for around 30 seconds.

Writing on Facebook, witness Mimamo Monika said: "Men and women alike started crying and then cautiously came toward the police officers to shake their hands...the crowd disbursed."

Fayetteville Police Department tweeted: "As a show of understanding the pain that is in our community and our nation regarding equality, the #FayPD took a knee to show that we also stand for justice for everyone.

A protester hugs an officer after the show of unison in North Carolina

"We are committed to listening and treating everyone with dignity and respect."

The powerful gesture took place around 8pm on Murchison Road, Fayetteville - but is not the first show of support by law enforcement or local leaders since protests began last week.

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, officers also knelt alongside peaceful protesters outside the federal courthouse building on the same day.

Sixty officers knelt before George Floyd protesters
It is one of a number of acts of support by law enforcement and local authorities across the US

And yesterday officers did the same in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC, as did NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan after being urged by demonstrators in New York City.

While Democratic US Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents portions of Houston where Mr Floyd was raised, told a memorial service yesterday that she would introduce police reform legislation in Congress on Thursday in his honour.

And Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who is black, said he understood marchers' pain and told them they were making an impact.

It comes as thousands of demonstrators also took a knee outside the US Capitol Building yesterday, chanting "silence is violence" and "no justice, no peace".

The throng at the Capitol then stood up and chanted "take a knee" and "who do you protect?" as officers faced them.

Evening curfews were ordered in dozens of cities after a week of protests, with Donald Trump threatening military action if states don't call on the National Guard following violent clashes and looting.