Peaceful protests have become the norm in the wake of the George Floyd murder. They have also exacerbated the strain between American citizens and respective law enforcement officers sworn to protect them. Whether those that unconditionally support law enforcement like it or not, the agencies they hold in such high regard will have to work hard to earn back the trust and respect they’ve been afforded for generations.
On June 4, a video surfaced showing a Buffalo, New York police officer shoving a 75 year old man to the ground. The unidentified officer was on apparent protestor containment with other officers when the unidentified senior citizen walked up to the officer for a verbal confrontation. The man didn’t appear to be armed, so he was of no imminent threat to the officer. The officer shoved the man, whose head hit the ground, causing bleeding out of his ear. The offending officer stops for a moment, then proceeded forward without tending to the prone senior citizen.
On May 31, during protests in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Ft. Lauderdale police officer Steven Pohorence was captured on video shoving a kneeling female protestor, who had her hands up and was no threat to the officer. Pohorence was suspended with pay. However Danielle Casey, the 19 year old protestor’s mother, maintains that Pohorence should be fired for shoving her daughter.
TMZ also captured the aftermath of an incident where a little girl was crying uncontrollably after she was allegedly tear gassed by police during last weekend’s protests in Seattle. The incident wasn’t actually captured on video, and there’s an ongoing investigation into what happened.
Those are three examples of incidents where harm and indignation have been brought upon demographics that society usually takes great effort to protect: the elderly, women, and children. While the Seattle incident isn’t fully documented on camera, reasonable deduction dictates that other protestors aren’t likely to use tear gas on a little girl who couldn’t be more than nine years old. Law enforcement has tear gas at their disposal, and are more likely to use it to control large unruly and peaceful crowds when they deem necessary.
The three aforementioned incidents prove that law enforcement’s collective desire to regain the trust of its communities will be a long, exhaustive journey. If Floyd’s death hasn’t made that clear, seeing that child in Seattle cry uncontrollably on camera should.