After a nearly two hour march through the streets of Flint, Michigan on Saturday, hundreds of protesters seeking justice for George Floyd were met by a line of Flint Township officers and Genesee County Sheriff’s deputies wearing riot gear and holding batons outside the Flint Township Police Department.
“Protesters initially sat down to show their peace, and after conversations sparked between police and protesters, common ground was found,” reports Michigan Live. “High-fives, hugs and fist bumps were exchanged.”
In an extraordinary scene, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson took off his helmet off and put his baton on the ground as a sign of peace.
“We wanna be with y’all for real, so I took the helmet I laid the batons down. I wanna make this a parade not a protest,” he said to cheers from the crowd. “So listen, I’m just telling you, these cops love you. That cop over there hugs people.”
The crowd began to chant, “Walk with us!” as Swanson continued to high-five marchers.
“Let’s walk!” he said as he began to march with the demonstrators who reacted with loud cheers.
Amazing scene unfolding in Flint, Twp, Michigan. Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson has joined protesters in a peaceful march. Read More: https://t.co/4ioyUnymNv @MichStatePolice @GovWhitmer pic.twitter.com/nMCVuXQ0TZ
— Mid-Michigan NOW (@midmichigannow) May 31, 2020
Swanson walked with protesters talking to them about the George Floyd situation and how law enforcement and the community can better work together.
“This is the way it’s supposed to be — the police working with the community,” Swanson said. “When we see injustice, we call it out on the police side and on the community side. All we had to do was talk to them, and now we’re walking with them. … The cops in this community, we condemn what happened. That guy (Chauvin) is not one of us.”
This is my hometown. Flint Michigan. The Sheriff Chris Swanson and protestors. THIS is leadership. I total class act. pic.twitter.com/omOVjShJWq
— Dawn Annette Hill (@Dawny0420) May 31, 2020
— BUCCI (@iss_jayy) May 31, 2020