On Saturday night as many cities in the nation saw protests turn violent, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson marched side by side with the peaceful protesters in Flint Michigan.
In a gesture of goodwill, Swanson asked that his officers put down their batons and joined the crowd that was marching in Flint in honor of George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man who died after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck during an arrest in Minneapolis.
After more than two hours, the march was led to the Flint Township Police Department, where protesters were met with a line of Flint Township officers and Genesee County Sheriff’s deputies wearing riot gear and holding batons.
Protesters initially sat down to show their peace, and after conversations sparked between police and protesters, common ground was found. High-fives, hugs and fist bumps were exchanged.
Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson took his helmet off and put his baton on the ground as a sign of peace.
Swanson and other Flint-area police officers ultimately joined the march, which continued back past the Genesee Valley Mall onto Miller Road to the Target parking lot.
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
Police officers in Flint lay down their gear and start marching with protesters 💪 pic.twitter.com/DlqaPSdSW8
— Theo Shantonas (@TheoShantonas) May 31, 2020
Peace prevailed in Flint today as Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson and his officers put down their batons and marched with protestors pic.twitter.com/p6fCnhRDzz
— Santiago Ochoa (@santi8a98) May 31, 2020
Swanson spoke out against Chauvin and the injustice that went on in Minneapolis.
“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.”