In Flint Township, Mich., Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson encouraged a group of protesters to come together with law enforcement to mend their relationship with the community.
The encounter is just one example of peaceful protests happening around the country in the fight for justice for George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis after a white officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.
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“I want to make this a parade, not a protest,” Swanson can be heard saying on a video captured of the scene.
“These cops love you. That cop over there hugs people,” he said pointing to a colleague.
Demonstraters began chanting “walk with us,” and Swanson obliged.
“Let’s walk,” he said joining the march.
The touching video of the exchange has gone viral with more than 90,000 likes on Twitter.
“Don’t think for a second that he represents who these cops are from all over the county and around this nation,” Swanson told protesters, speaking of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is now facing charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter. “We go out there to help people, not do that nonsense.”
In another instance in Georgia, a police officer from the Atlanta Police Department tried to level with a group of protesters and show them their voices are being heard.
“I have a son who’s 31, I have a son who’s 15, all right, and I have to have these conversations with him all the time,” Officer Z. Murphy, who’s black, said. “What was going on up here was wrong, that’s why we brought it to a stop. The loudspeaker, the yakking, and the yapping.”
“We said pause, let these people remain here, let them stay on the street, let them express their grievances because you have a right to be pissed off,” he said.
One protester shouted that “over there, they don’t feel the same way,” referring to another group of cops from the same department.
“That’s why I told them to shut the f*** up,” the officer replied.
The protesters responded that he needed to “give this energy” to other police officers.
“One at a time, my brother, one at a time,” Murphy said.
On Friday, NBA star Royce White teamed up with a group called the Man Up Club – focused on educating and guiding black male youth – in Minneapolis to lead a peaceful protest for Floyd.
The protesters gathered to say prayers and give speeches during the three-mile walk that abided by citywide curfews.
“We started with 300 and we finished with 15,000 people,” Korey Dean Sr., the founder of the group told USA Today. “Not one fight, incident or argument. That is absolutely phenomenal.”
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Most protests throughout Brooklyn and other parts of New York City started off peacefully with marchers walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and making speeches against police brutality at the Barclays Center.
However, the overall message was marred by hundreds of arrests made by police because of violent uprisings and aggression toward law enforcement and others.
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