North Carolina Police Surprise Protesters During Standoff When 60 Of Them Kneel In Unison In Solidarity
Police in North Carolina surprised protesters during a standoff earlier this week by kneeling with them in support.
A group of around 60 officers from the Fayetteville Police Department knelt before the demonstrators on Murchison Road on Monday, June 1, for around 30 seconds.
Those at the scene said some protesters, and even officers, responded to the move with tears, with the officers saying they did it ‘as a show of understanding the pain that is in our community and our nation regarding equality’.
Sharing a video of the moment to their Twitter page, the police department said it ‘took a knee to show that we also stand for justice for everyone’, adding: ‘We are committed to listening and treating everyone with dignity and respect.’
Those who witnessed the ‘touching’ moment said it happened at about 8.00pm, just as the curfew started, with one woman saying the protesters believed they were going to be arrested. ‘But our Fayetteville PD humbly knelt before them instead,’ Monika Mimamo wrote underneath the video shared on Facebook.
The protesters first got mad when asked to step back but once the officers knelt down it was on… men and women alike started crying and then cautiously came toward the police officers to shake their hands.
The crowd disbursed [sic]… these are moments that will go down into history and will be taught to future generations.
It comes as thousands across the world protest against the killing of George Floyd, who died after Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes during an arrest until he lost consciousness, despite his pleas that he couldn’t breathe.
Demonstrations have been taking place across the US and worldwide, with protesters desperate for change in a world where black people can’t even go to the shops or for a run without being fearful they will be killed because of the colour of their skin.
Obviously, these police officers kneeling for 30 seconds isn’t a fix and does not address any of the issues protesters are currently fighting for. However, it has provided some people with hope, with many thanking them for doing so and one person describing it as an ‘awesome start’.
While acknowledging this show of respect for protesters, some people watching the video implored the police department to ‘act with urgency’ and provide answers as to which policies are being adopted in response to the concerns demonstrators are raising.
Others also criticised the police department for using the video as a PR stunt, saying there was no need to bring the drone in to film the moment if it was done out of sincerity and as a legitimate response to their concerns.
The police department responded by saying they are currently working with various community and faith leaders, along with the Mayor’s Office, to ‘plan future forums for open dialogue regarding various issues of concern. However, it acknowledged that it is ‘still very early to discuss specifics’.
Protests continue, with thousands demanding the four officers involved in Floyd’s death be brought to justice. While Chauvin has been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter for his role in Floyd’s death, the other three have so far only been fired.
The lead attorney for Floyd’s family, Ben Crump, has since called for Chauvin to be charged with first degree murder. His family agrees, and also wants the other three officers involved to be arrested.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.