‘We want to be with y’all’: Michigan sheriff leads law enforcement to march alongside protesters
FLINT TOWNSHIP, Mich. - As demonstrations condemning the death of George Floyd continue across the U.S., some local officers and deputies are being praised for crossing the lines and participating in the protests.
Marchers in Flint Township, Michigan, arrived at a police station where Genesee County Sheriff Christopher Swanson — responding to chants of “Walk with us! Walk with us!" — said, “Come on!” and joined the protest.
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Matt Bueby posted a video to Twitter showing Swanson diffusing tensions between police and protesters as he joined the ranks of the Black Lives Matter demonstrators.
“We want to be with y’all for real. I want to make this a parade, not a protest,” Swanson said. “These cops love you. You tell us what you need (us) to do.” He then was greeted with chants of “walk with us,” and he shouted “let’s walk,” motioning to the road.
Swanson condemned the acts of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was seen pinning Floyd to the ground amid his cries of “I can’t breathe." Chauvin was arrested on third-degree murder and manslaughter charges on Friday.
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Police officers in one of New Jersey's largest and most violent cities were praised on social media for marching alongside protesters in rallies held during the weekend over George Floyd's death.
Camden County Police Chief Joe Wysocki, who has been working in the city for decades, joined the front line of a march in Camden on Saturday afternoon, sporting his uniform, a protective face mask and a peace sign.
”Yesterday was another example of our ongoing engagement, and a very real dialogue, that we are having with residents throughout Camden that has made our agency part of the fabric of this city," Wysocki said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press.
Police in Fargo, North Dakota, held hands with protesters while officers took a knee in Santa Cruz, California.
Protests have been held for days in cities all over the United States in response to Floyd’s death. Floyd, who was black, died Monday after a white police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing.
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On Saturday night, some peaceful protests turned violent in cities like New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Store windows were smashed, items were stolen and police cars were set on fire. Both police officers and civilians suffered injuries.
Storyful and The Associated Press contributed to this story.