Protests have swept the United States the last six days in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minnesota.
Floyd, who was unarmed, died as he was held down while handcuffed by three Minneapolis police officers. Former officer Derek Chauvin held his knee to Floyd’s neck as he lay face down screaming “Mama” “please” and “I can’t breathe.” A fourth officer stood by as it happened.
Chauvin was arrested for his part in Floyd’s death and charged with second degree manslaughter and third degree murder on Friday. Protests have occurred in dozens of cities since.
While some police departments have been accused of being heavy handed in their attempts to control protests that turned violent over the weekend, other departments have tried to reach out to protesters to share their grief and help convey their message of peace.
Officers respond and participate
The chief of police for the department involved in Floyd’s death paid his respects at a memorial Sunday, joining the crowds who came out to honor the slain man.
CNN’s Sara Sidner obtained the photo of Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo kneeling at the memorial for Floyd outside the Cup Foods store in Minneapolis Sunday.
In Houston, Floyd’s hometown, Police Chief Art Acevedo kneeled along with protesters. Acevedo told CNN’s Don Lemon that he wants to provide a police escort for George Floyd’s body as he returns to his hometown to be buried.
“It’s going to be a big deal for our city to bring him back home,” Acevedo said. “We want to make sure that the family is safe, that the movement is safe.”
Acevedo has been embracing protesters and expressed his hope that the outrage over Floyd’s death would spark change.
“I think this is a watershed moment,” Acevedo said. He hopes it’s a sign of “meaningful reform” on how officers who use deadly force are dealt with.
In New York City, a police officer was seen taking a knee in front of a heart drawn on a wall during a rally for Floyd near Times Square Sunday.
In nearby New Jersey, the Camden County Metro Police Chief Joe Wysocki joined demonstrators at the head of a march holding a sign that read “Standing in Solidarity” to honor the movement and spread a message of peace.
Social media users praised the actions of the chief. Following the march, the department held a pop up block party to interact with the community they serve.
Across the country, an entire line of officers was seen taking the knee as they faced protesters in Spokane County, Washington. The attendees of the demonstration, billed as a protest against police brutality, cheered as the officers kneeled.
Law enforcement in Des Moines, Iowa, took a knee outside the Des Moines Police Department Sunday night, video from CNN affiliate KCCI shows.
They kneeled for two minutes along with the protesters who asked them to participate in the moment of solidarity, KCCI reported.
In Kansas City, Missouri, at least one protestor shook the hand of an officer deployed to a protest Sunday.
Earlier in the day, Mayor Quinton Lucas called in the National Guard to help quell demonstrations that got out of control Saturday night.
Lucas said that while some people were there to protest peacefully, others broke windows and raided shops.
Eighty-five people were arrested during protests Saturday, according to Lucas.