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Police in cities such as Flint, Michigan and Camden, New Jersey, took part in the protests on Saturday by walking in solidarity
Over the weekend, major protests erupted across the country in reaction to the murder of George Floyd, who died at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers, including one, Derek Chauvin who has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. As civilians took to the streets to fight racial injustice and police brutality, in some cities something truly amazing happened. Some police officers — and even a police chief — joined the protestors in solidarity, signaling that they too demand an end to police brutality.
In Camden, New Jersey, Police Chief Joseph Wysocki, who has previously described the video showing Floyd’s death as “horrific,” proudly walked with protestors during a march through the streets holding a banner that read “Standing In Solidarity.”
“We’re proud to stand together with the residents we serve!” the police department wrote alongside a video taken during the march. “It was our honor to march with you!” the department also tweeted.
Camden, right across the river from Philadelphia, has come a long way in the last few years. In 2014 it was considered the most dangerous city in the country, due to a high incidence of violent crimes. Journalist James Surowiecki pointed out that over the last five years the troubled city “has invested heavily in de-escalation training and adopted a use-of-force policy that’s been called the most progressive” in the country and “one that stresses force should be used as a last resort.”
In Flint, Michigan, police officers took off their helmets and put down their batons, leading protestors in a parade through the streets.
“The only reason we are here [is] to make sure you got a voice,” Sheriff Chris Swanson tells a crowd in a video posted to Facebook. “Don’t think for a second that [Derek Chauvin] represents who these cops are from around this county and around the nation. We go out there to help people not to do this nonsense.”
“We want to be with ya’ll for real. So I took the helmet off and laid the batons down. I want to make this a parade, not a protest,” Swanson continued.
The protestors, so taken by the words of the police chief, started chanting “walk with us” and the group headed out.
Cops in Kansas City, Missouri did the same — walking together with protestors.
And the police chief in Santa Clara, Ca took a knee during a peaceful protest in the area.
These acts of solidarity exemplified in Flint and Camden are a great reminder that there is hope. We, both cops and civilians and people of different races, genders, and religions, can work — and peacefully fight — in the name of justice, civil rights, and humanity.