A sheriff gained the respect of protesters during a protest over George Floyd's death at a police station in Michigan on Saturday.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the police headquarters in Flint Township, but instead of clashing with them, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson removed his helmet and lowered his weapon in front of the group.
"We want to be with y'all for real," Swanson said, as officers took their helmets off and laid their batons down. "I want to make this a parade, not a protest," he said.
"The only reason we're here is to make sure that you got a voice—that's it," Swanson said. "These cops love you—that cop over there hugs people."
The sheriff said he would do whatever the people wanted him to do, prompting some in the group to chant: "Walk with us! Walk with us!"
Swanson smiled at the group and agreed, high-fiving some as he joined the peaceful march.
"Let's go, let's go," he said, as the cheering crowd proceeded. "Where do you want to walk? We'll walk all night," he added.
Protests have been held for days in cities all over the United States in response to the death of Floyd, an African American who died on May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, was arrested last week. He has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin was held at Ramsey County Jail before being taken to the Hennepin County Jail on Sunday.
However, Saturday's event in Michigan offered a welcome contrast to violent confrontations.
'Together We Are Stronger'Police officers in one of New Jersey's largest and most violent cities were praised on social media for marching alongside protesters.
"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.
“We know that together we are stronger, we know that together, in the city of Camden, we can create a space where policing is focused on deescalation and dialogue," Wysocki said.