Some sheriffs and law enforcement officers across the nation have decided to join those who are protesting the death of George Floyd, the unarmed black man who was killed when a white officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck.
In Flint, Michigan, Genesse County Sheriff Chris Swanson and his officers put down their riot gear and walked with Black Lives Matter protestors
"We want to be with y'all for real so I took my helmet off and they laid their batons down," he said, pointing to his deputies behind him. "I want to make this a parade, not a protest."
The crowd was supportive and ecstatic that Sheriff Swanson and his men were joining them.
"You got little ones here, you got dogs, so –" he said with a smile. "I'm just telling you, these cops love you."
Swanson pointed to an officer off-camera. "That cop over there hugs people, so you tell us what you need to do," he said, smiling.
The crowd began to chant.
"Walk with us! Walk with us! Walk with us!"
The sheriff takes a deep breath. "Let's walk," he said, motioning towards the street.
Swanson asked the protestors, "Where do you want to walk? We'll walk all night!"
Protestors replied, "Wherever you wanna walk."
As the crowd made their way down the street, Swanson high-fived and chatted with black protestors.
Want to know what a protest that leads to real change looks like? This is it. In Flint Michigan, Sheriff Chris Swanson and his officers joined protesters to march for justice for George Floyd. Unity not destruction. I hope & pray we see more of this today. pic.twitter.com/bKKLV7J6bb— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) May 31, 2020
Black and white police officers in Camden, New Jersey were seen walking behind signs that read, "Standing in solidarity."
As they walked down the street the protestors chanted, "No justice, no peace."
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo took part in his city's protests as well.
Houston Police Departments Chief Acevedo marches alongside with protestors, this is leadership. He knows part of his community feels hurt and he acknowledges it and wants to help heal. This is Houston ??@houstonpolice pic.twitter.com/kkKmas5Z7v— grapplingmom (@grapplingmomhtx) May 31, 2020
He even gave protestors a pep talk.
"What I love about this city is they want people of color to be talked about as thugs and we're bums and my people, as an immigrant, we're [inaudible]. But you know what? We built this country!" Acevedo shouted. "We got news for them! We ain't going nowhere. We're not going nowhere. This ship has sailed so if you got hate in your heart for people of color, get over it!"
The crowded nodded in agreement.
"Because this city is a minority-owned city. This is a city where blacks and whites and browns and illegal and legal all get together because we judge each other by the content of our hearts!" the police chief said during his speech.
"So I'm here to tell you, we will march as a department with everyone in this community. I will march until I can't stand no more," he said, holding back tears. "But I will not allow anyone to tear down this city because it's our city."
"Pay attention! It's the white guys with the skateboards that started all this s**t! ... Don't follow that bulls**t because that's the devil's work!" he said, referring to Antifa.
Art Acevedo, Houston Chief of Police “DONT FOLLOW THAT BULLSHIT” pic.twitter.com/2HFBu86fOc— brat (@bribrielle_) May 31, 2020
Tampa Bay Chief Brian Dugan and Mayor Jane Castor, the city's former police chief, also joined protests. There was, however, a confrontation before the two joined.
According to the person who posted a video of Castor marching, protestors know "she is with us" because she is actively apart of their community.
"We see her in our houses of worship. We see her supporting us every day. She's working in our community so we're grateful that our mayor is saying all lives matter, including black lives, that black lives matter.
On Sunday, Dugan encouraged peaceful protestors to stay home Sunday night. He even referenced his participation in the protests.
"Kind of at a loss for words over the whole thing. As the mayor said, her and I were out there marching with protesters because, you know – this might shock some people – but I'm against police brutality, the mayor's against police brutality," he explained.
"Kind of at a loss for words over the whole thing. [The mayor] and I were out there marching with protesters ... I'm against police brutality, the mayor's against police brutality."— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) May 31, 2020
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan responds to Saturday's riots: https://t.co/UT8LQ3YXQd pic.twitter.com/dkqEbnSXnD