Cops in three major US cities joined George Floyd demonstrators in solidarity over the weekend, marching together with the protestors and in one case taking a knee.
The support shown by officers in Camden, New Jersey, Ferguson, Missouri, and Flint, Michigan, drew praises on social media after violent protests and looting had erupted following the police-related slaying in Minneapolis on Monday.
Cops in Camden, one of New Jersey's largest and most violent cities, decided to march alongside protesters in rallies held this weekend over Floyd's killing.
Camden County Police Chief Joe Wysocki, who has been working in the city for decades, joined the front line of a march in Camden City on Saturday afternoon, sporting his uniform, a protective face mask and a peace sign.
Cops in three US cities joined George Floyd demonstrators in solidarity over the weekend. Pictured are police in Camden, New Jersey, including Camden County Police Chief Joe Wysocki marching alongside protesters in rallies held this weekend over Floyd's killing
'Yesterday was another example of our ongoing engagement, and a very real dialogue, that we are having with residents throughout Camden that has made our agency part of the fabric of this city,' Wysocki said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press.
Since Camden's police force disbanded and reformed in 2013 as a county agency, officers there have been hyper-focused on community policing.
It's not strange to see them on walking beats or attending neighborhood block parties like the one Saturday night where two officers grilled up hamburgers and hot dogs.
'We know that together we are stronger, we know that together, in the city of Camden, we can create a space where policing is focused on deescalation and dialogue,' Wysocki said.
Protests have been held for days in cities all over the United States in response to Floyd´s death. Floyd, who was black, died Monday after a white police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing. The fatal move lasted about 9 1/2 minutes.
Demonstrators outside the police station in Ferguson knelt down for the same amount of time as they remembered Floyd during a rally. To the surprise of many in the crowd, officers on the scene began taking a knee.
Video footage of the moment taken by an intern at Heroic Imagination shows the crowd cheering the cops for their show of solidarity.
Demonstrators at a rally in Ferguson, Missouri (pictured), knelt for 9 1/2 minutes to recall how long Floyd was fatally pinned during a rally. To the surprise of many in the crowd, officers on the scene began taking a knee.
Officers in the background at the rally in footage posted on social media are seen taking a knee in solidarity with the demonstrators as they remembered Floyd
An HIP intern was filming a protest in Ferguson, MO at the police station when this happened.... As the protest leader called for a 9 1/2 minute knee in honor of George Floyd; Ferguson police of every color also took a knee in joint honor with protest. #WeStandTogether pic.twitter.com/6iN0dMroby— Heroic Imagination (@HIPorg) May 31, 2020
A post of the footage on Twitter, made by the non-profit organization devoted to herorism, noted that 'Ferguson police of every color' had taken the knee.
Officers were seen kneeling along with protesters in other parts of the country, like Miami Dade County in Florida and Santa Cruz in California, in similar social media posts.
On Saturday night, peaceful protests turned violent in cities like New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Store windows were smashed and items were stolen, police cars were set on fire. Both police officers and civilians suffered serious injuries.
On Saturday night, peaceful protests turned violent in cities like New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Store windows were smashed and items were stolen, police cars were set on fire. Demonstrators are seen clashing with NYPD officers in New York
But several instances of police solidarity throughout the US were still being widely shared on social media, providing hope from the mayhem.
Marchers in Flint, Michigan, arrived at a police station where Genesee County Sheriff Christopher Swanson spoke candidly to the crowd and joined with them in solidarity shortly afterwards.
'The only reason we're here is to make sure that you got a voice, that's it!' Swanson told the demonstrators.
Marchers in Flint, Michigan, arrived at a police station where Genesee County Sheriff Christopher Swanson (pictured) spoke candidly to the crowd and joined with them in solidarity shortly afterwards.
'The only reason we're here is to make sure that you got a voice, that's it!' Swanson told the demonstrators. The sheriff is pictured speaking to the demonstrators
Across parts of America, police and protesters have been clashing.
In Flint, Michigan, something else happened.
This is the exact moment when Sheriff Chris Swanson put down his helmet and baton ¿ and joined protesters on their march.pic.twitter.com/VHnwnpUy8r— Goodable (@Goodable) May 31, 2020
The sheriff pointed out that officers across the US were not the same as the former, disgraced cop Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with Floyd's murder and is seen in a viral video allegedly carrying out the fatal move that killed the man.
'Don't think for a second that he represents who these cops are from all over the country and around this nation,' said Swanson. 'We go out there to help people, not do that nonsense.'
Swanson told the crowd he was ditching his riot helmet and baton to prove the commitment officers had to maintaining the peace.
'I want to make this a parade, not a protest,' he told the crowd.
'These cops love you! the sheriff exclaimed to the crowd as people chanted, 'Walk with us! Walk with us!'
A Genesee County Sheriff's deputy raises his fist in solidarity alongside protesters