Three NYPD officers – including a commander in a white shirt – knelt in the middle of a protest in New York City in solidarity with protesters in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
You can watch the video below. It was posted to Facebook by Aleeia Abraham of Queens, New York. Gloria Pazmino, a reporter with Spectrum News NY1, wrote on Twitter, “Haven’t seen this video much yet, but look at these NYPD officers — including a white shirt officer— in Queens, taking a knee beside protestors. They join as they read the names of men and women who have died at the hands of police. It’s from today.” She posted the tweet on May 31, and provided a link to this video:
The video has been viewed more than 56,000 times.
The video starts when the white-shirted officer and the other two officers, wearing blue NYPD community liaison officer shirts, approached the protesters, who were gathered near a Footlocker store. “Have them come into the circle,” said one protester. “Make room for them please,” a protester said, and the group did. The officers names are not known.
The officers knelt in the middle of the circle. “Keep the peace,” people chanted. The crowd applauded as the officers knelt. The crowd then began saying the names of people who lost their lives in police-related and other incidents.
“We are going to say the names of all those who lost their lives,” an organizer said, as there was a moment of silence.
At the end of it, the white-shirted officer shook people’s hands, an officer hugged people, and people said thank you.
“We’re going to push for policy to be changed. We’re going to push for law enforcement to be changed,” an organizer said. “Please do not let it die down. Let’s unify. Let’s join together.”
The peaceful scene painted a stark contrast to other images of the past few days in which rioting, looting and fires broke out in major cities throughout the United States in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Floyd died after a then-Minneapolis police officer restrained him with a knee to the neck. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter and he, and three other officers at the scene, were fired.
Here’s what you need to know:
Police Officers Have Knelt or Marched With Protesters in Numerous Cities
However, the NYPD kneeling moment was not an anomaly. Throughout the country, other officers have joined in solidarity with protesters, a marked contrast to scenes of officers in riot gear squaring off with rioters.
In Flint, Michigan, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson “took off his helmet off and put his baton on the ground as a sign of peace,” according to The Guardians of Democracy.
“We wanna be with y’all for real, so I took the helmet I laid the batons down. I wanna make this a parade not a protest,” he said to applause from the crowd, according to that site. “So listen, I’m just telling you, these cops love you. That cop over there hugs people.”
Officers in Camden, New Jersey marched with demonstrators. Watch that video:
Santa Cruz, California Police Chief Andy Mills also took a knee. That police department wrote, “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.”
Police officers in Kansas City also joined protesters. They held a sign that read, “End police brutality.”
Police in Coral Gables, Florida, also took a knee.