Protesters around the United States have been taking to the streets amid the death of George Floyd. While the protests have become extreme and violent in some areas, gleams of hope shine through.
Floyd’s life was taken from him when a now-former Minneapolis Police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes. Since this has happened, the officer has been arrested and charged with Floyd’s death. The other officers involved have not been charged with anything at this time, and it is not clear if they will be held accountable for their parts in not stopping the death of Floyd.
Many officers surprised protesters when they greeted them and took a knee to support their cause. Videos and photographs of police officers, from all over the U.S. showing their support to the protest are seen throughout the internet.
People in New York, Idaho, Florida, and California have posted to their social media showing their local police officers kneeling in support. In the videos, applause and cheers for the officers are heard. Many voices are heard saying, “Thank you, thank you, this is what we want.”
Some Peaceful, Some Not
Most of the protests that have taken place since Floyd’s unnecessary death have been peaceful. However, not all of the protesting has been done peacefully. In some areas looting, fires, and mischief have taken place.
Some have even taken their frustration out on various other police officers. It is understandable to be furious over Floyd’s death, what happened to him should not have happened. However, the actions of one should not be held against all those in the same field of work.
Protesters held up signs reading “Stop Police Brutality,” and “Black Lives Matter,” as they marched the streets. Chanting for justice for Floyd and everyone else who has ever been brutalized by officers in the past.
In one of the videos, officers were thanked for taking a knee. When the officers got up to continue with the crowd, “Take the knee” is chanted by all. The officers took a knee again and joined the protesters in a prayer. The officers held hands with the crowd, wearing masks, they bowed their heads as the crowd named off the victims of past brutality. Afterward, the officers hugged several members of the crowd and shook hands with others.
Other Signs of Hope
In Des Moines, on May 31, 2020, the tension was thick as protesters stood outside police headquarters. Officers wearing riot gear approach the crowd, asking them to disperse. The protesters announced they only wanted to kneel in honor of the memory of Floyd.
Then the protesters stood chanting, “ Hands up, don’t shoot.” Finally, they stated if officers came out and knelt in honor of Floyd they would quietly leave. Dozens of officers answered their calls and knelt.
Aleeia Abraham filmed officers in Queens, New York, kneeling in respect for Floyd. Abraham stated in an interview, “I definitely didn’t expect that. I’ve never seen that.” As the officers knelt with them, one of the protesters reeled off the names of victims who have died at the hands of police.
Officers are not the only ones showing compassion during this trying time. One man in Louisville protected an officer who was cut off from his team. This man helped form a wall, by linking arms with other protesters, to get him back to his squad.
The next day the same man helped a few news crews get through the rowdy crowd and to safety. Floyd’s death, and others like his, is horrible. It is okay to voice an opinion and protest peacefully. It is a whole different thing to loot and vandalize things.
What Does His Family Say About the Violence?
Floyd’s family states in an interview that he was a “gentle giant” and would not want anyone hurt in his name.
By Sheena Robertson
Edited by Jeanette Vietti
CNN: New York police officers kneel with protesters
QNS: NYPD officers kneel with protesters during Queens rally
CNN: This is how loved ones want us to remember George Floyd
WHAS11 ABC: Louisville man seen protecting officer during protest shares his voice while fighting for justice
Top Image Courtesy of Victoria Pickering’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of Elvert Barnes’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License