In the US, some cops take a knee, march with protesters in solidarity

If there were no photos and videos most Indians would have dismissed the news of uniformed police personnel hugging a protester as a work of fiction. Many more would have even asked how a protest even took place in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns in place across the globe. 

us policeImage: AP / Shmuel Thaler

However all of that has happened, making the world sit up and notice as police in Florida expressed solidarity with crowds protesting police brutality and the death of George Floyd, in police custody. The video grab of a policeman with his knee planted on Floyd’s neck, as the African-American citizen was pinned face down on the road, had shaken those who had seen it. Many, in India, were shocked as they knew that activists, protesters, the underprivileged have often faced such brutality from those in uniform. Since the national Covid-19 lockdown in India, more visuals of people being thrashed mercilessly by cops have come to light than those of policemen bringing birthday cakes to select citizens.

Contrast this with the image of uniformed, armed police as they take a knee, almost as if genuflecting in prayer  in solidarity with protesters in South Florida. As reported by CBS12 news portal, even as violent demonstrations raged across America, to protest George Floyd’s brutal death in Minneapolis, the one in Coral Gables, organized in “conjunction with the Miami-Dade Chiefs of Police Association, was a beacon of light. 

As peaceful protesters held “Black Lives Matter” and “Stop Police Brutality” posters, police personnel joined the peaceful protest. Some of the cops took a knee in solidarity. According to news reports the police, and the protest organisers have also “committed to continue discussions this week via a Zoom call to listen to the community’s concerns.” Meanwhile, added the report, mayor Carlos Jimenez has also “ordered a county-wide curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice” following incidents of looting and violence, and “57 people were arrested in Miami-Dade County Saturday night, most of which were charged with violating curfew or county ordinances.” The report quotes Miami-Dade Corrections as stating that some of those arrested came from outside the state, “Minnesota, Michigan and New York”.

Journalist Roberto Ferdman posted a powerful video of a of a demonstrator hugging a riot gear clad policeman. 

“ She just went in for the hug, and the officer accepted. Lasted almost a minute. Incredible”



Similar powerful scenes of citizens and State in solidarity, were reported by ABC News: “Powerful moment as sheriff’s deputies stationed outside the county jail in Oklahoma City take a knee in solidarity with protesters.” 



Even more news of Police solidarity came in from New Jersey, where some policemen walked along with the protesters, as seen in this post from twitter user Joshua Potash that went viral: “In New Jersey police have literally started marching with protesters.  #BLACK_LIVES_MATTER”



“Houston Police Chief (left) and other officers joined them as well.”



It is almost a week since concerned citizens of the United States have hit the streets in over 140 cities to demand an end to racism and police violence triggered by it. Some of those “turned violent, prompting the activation of the National Guard in at least 21 states,” reported  the NY Times.

On Sunday night, police fired tear gas near the White House on Sunday night to disperse crowds of protesters who allegedly turned aggressive and damaged windows of prominent buildings, overturned cars and set fires. According to NYT, the “White House went dark, turning off almost all of its external lights,”  as protesters continued to defy curfews. Protests demonstrations have continued even though the National Guard is said to have been deployed at many places where violence was reported. 

The disciplining, however, has been on both sides of the law. According to news reports, on Sunday, “Two Atlanta police officers were fired for using excessive force during a protest” This too was exposed when videos of police “using stun guns on two black college students and then dragging them out of their car,” went viral. Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, announced the dismissal, and added that three more cops were “reassigned to desk duty while the department reviews their actions,” reported NYT.

In contrast, no there is no news update yet if any policeman, seen on video thrashing migrant workers, or alleged lockdown violators, have been taken to task. However, for those not distracted by police bringing birthday cake, the chalchitra abhiyan reported allegations of  police brutality from Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district. The incident took place on May 26, and residents of  Shamli’s Taprana village have alleged that local  police vandalised 35 houses belonging to Muslims.



There are miles to go, before we see Indian policemen ‘take a knee’ in solidarity with dissenting citizens and activists. However the citizen uprising has brought in some hope. As senior Left leader and activist D Raja said in a video conference today, “We can challenge the government, we can build a movement.” 

Added another Indian activist said, “Today, every street in the US, is agitating against one murder”, adding that “post lockdown, there will be a surge of agitation” in India too. The lockdown on dissent too, will end, one day.




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