A new video showing a police officer refusing to kneel as protestors scream at him is making the rounds. In it, the officer also makes the now contentious statement that “all lives matter” as he pledges to protect everyone. This was shared by Sydney Edwards of News Channel Nine (a Tennessee local station).
This is another moment protestors asked officers to take a knee with them.
This officer said he will only take a knee for God.
He said “All Lives Matter” pic.twitter.com/eUJGMvkZ4M
— Sydney Edwards (@SydEdwardsNews) June 4, 2020
While I’m someone who can and has sympathized with the complaints surrounding policing in this country (I wrote back during the lockdowns about some of the bad behavior, as well on the Floyd killing more recently), demanding subjugation is not trying to have a conversation. It’s manipulative behavior and serves no purpose except to symbolize one’s dominance over another.
These protestors hurt their own cause with these attempted shows of control. How? Because while there’s widespread agreement that there are bad cops and that the laws must be applied equally, regardless of union contracts and the like, this kind of behavior paints all police with a broad brush. Has this specific officer brutalized black people? Has he broken rules and regulations? Has he supported those that have? Why does he need to subjugate himself in this case? By generalizing all police like this, it causes divisions and harms any possible consensus towards change.
Demanding that people kneel before you before you’ll even have a “conversation,” as the protestor in this video does, is not operating in bad faith. It’s just inflaming tensions. These officers would probably like nothing more than to be home with their families. Their jobs are hard enough without having to deal with stuff like this. If you really want change, stand up like a man, look them in the eye, and talk to them like a human being. Because despite those who’ve done wrong, you can’t lump everyone into the same boat any more than you can lump everyone of one race into the same boat as those that commit crimes. It’s not fair or right.
While some police and National Guard may see fit to participate in the kneeling, others won’t, and that’s probably the right decision in my opinion.