A California law enforcement organization has shared a video of a police officer remaining silent and stoic as a crowd, inches from his face, hurls insults at him, gives him the finger, and repeatedly blows cigarette smoke into his face.
Here’s that video. Be forewarned that the language in the below video is graphic. It comes after unprecedented unrest throughout the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Some of the outrage has been expressed through peaceful protest. In other cases, rioting and looting has erupted in major cities. There are calls in some corners to defund or even abolish police departments.
“Are you holding it together,” people shout at the silent officer in the crowded protest. Someone blows what appears to be cigarette smoke in his face. “Get the cameras on his as* right f*cking now,” someone shouts. But the officer, who is wearing a helmet, remains impassive. “We’re not intimidated,” one shouts. They hold phones up as if they are recording his reaction.
Another video shared by the group shows people hurling racial slurs at an African-American officer. SEBA wrote of that video, which you can see on their Facebook page, “Tomorrow on SEBA on DEMAND we interview Deputy Harris, one of our members, who had racial slurs hurled at him by protesters in Rancho Cucamonga. He speaks candidly about his dedication to the profession, regardless of criticism.”
The video showing people blowing smoke in the officer’s face was posted by SEBA (Sheriffs’ Employees Benefit Association) on Wednesday, June 11, 2020, with this caption, “Despite this incredibly offensive and antagonizing behavior of those in the crowd, this officer remained calm and professional.”
“SEBA has proudly served law enforcement employees of San Bernardino County since 1946 as the recognized bargaining unit for those on the front lines of public safety,” its page explains. “SEBA is intent on ensuring the highest level of service to our community by protecting the men and women who maintain our County’s safety day in and day out.” Although the page didn’t identify the officer or his department, or where the video took place, at one point you can tell that he’s wearing the uniform of the Sacramento Police Department.
People filled up the comment thread with praise for the officer. “Imagine how that can hurt a soul. Probably a person who went into law enforcement with the best of intentions to keep his community safe and wanted to do good…This is just wrong,” wrote one woman. “Seriously, I get that they are public servants and all but they should not be allowed to be that close to that officer’s face or anyone for that matter. One arms distance should be the rule! He handled that incredibly well especially considering the fact that he didn’t deserve that sort of treatment. I can’t support this, smh,” a man wrote.
Here’s what you need to know:
Other Videos Have Gone Viral During the Unrest
A series of other intense videos emerged from cities throughout the country as George Floyd protests and riots escalated into violence in some areas. For example, in Chicago, there was an all-out street brawl between police officers and protesters, according to this video. In Atlanta, a video caught a bicycle officer shoving a bike at a woman. Protesters threw an American flag in a river outside Trump Tower in Chicago. In New York City, videos captured two NYPD squad cars ramming into protesters.
Here’s a round-up of some of the most intense videos.