A Michigan sheriff removed his helmet and tossed his batons aside to join George Floyd protesters in a moment of solidarity, video shows.
“We want to be with y’all for real so I took the helmet off and laid the batons down,” Genesee County Sheriff Christopher Swanson said Saturday at demonstrations in Flint Township, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Swanson said he suited up in riot gear as protesters approached to prepare for any conflict, but as demonstrations continued he saw an officer fist bump someone participating in the march, the outlet reported.
He said it then occurred to him that there could be an opportunity for law enforcement to come together with the demonstrators — and he took off his riot gear and walked up to one of the leaders of the march.
“And I said, ‘What else do I need to do?’ and he said, ‘Walk with us,’” Swanson told the outlet. “The best moment of my police career is when I said, ‘Let’s walk.’ And we walked over a mile back to where it started and I could feel an instantaneous peace on both sides.”
Footage has gone viral on Facebook of Swanson condemning former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin, who is accused of killing Floyd by pinning his knee on his neck for several minutes.
“The only reason we’re here is to make sure you’ve got a voice. That’s it,” Swanson said. “Don’t think for a second that he represents who these cops are from all over the county and around the nation.”
He continued, “These cops love you … so you tell us what we need to do.”
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