In a move that brought on both surprise and heartfelt tears, officers with the Fayetteville Police Department in North Carolina took a knee in unison in front of a group protesters on Tuesday to show their support.
The Fayetteville News & Observer reports that the incident happened on Murchison Road on Tuesday afternoon as a group of marchers walked up toward the officers, who stood in front of them. Facebook user Mimamo Monika posted that the crowd was initially angered when they were asked to stand back, until one by one, each officer kneeled down.
“If you see the real clip it is much more touching ..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.”
Fayetteville PD tweeted that the department hopes to bring about more unity in the community. The officers also wanted to show an acknowledgment of the pain brought about by inequality in the nation, a pain that has intensified following the death of 44-year-old George Floyd on May 25, in Minneapolis.
Floyd died while lying on the ground, handcuffed, after now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee pressed in Floyd’s neck for around eight minutes. Onlookers pleaded with Chauvin to stop but Floyd was pronounced dead the same day.
“As a show of understanding the pain that is in our community and our nation regarding equality, the #FayPD took a knee to show that we also stand for justice for everyone,” the department wrote. “We are committed to listening and treating everyone with dignity and respect.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, similar incidents have taken place across the country, with officers in Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, and Missouri either kneeling or walking with protesters to show support.
Check back for updates.
[Feature Photo via Fayetteville PD]