George Floyd death: What do protesters' arm bands mean?

Social media users suggest police are using 'colour of the day' system

Zoe Tidman
Saturday 30 May 2020 15:38 BST
Police and protesters clash in New York at demonstration over George Floyd's death

Protesters spotted wearing white armbands at demonstrations over the death of George Floyd could actually be undercover police, social media users have suggested.

At least a dozen US cities have seen furious protests after Mr Floyd died earlier this week following an arrest in Minneapolis in which an officer pressed a knee into his neck for nine minutes.

Protests have erupted across the US after the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed when he was pinned to the ground by police in Minneapolis. ​

After a video was shared of police clashing with demonstrators in New York on Friday, people claimed undercover officers could be spotted by the armband.

Images posted on Twitter show people wearing the same item, with some social media users pointing out handcuffs and bulletproof vests can sometimes be seen through clothes.

“NYC friends, I noticed all the undercover cops are wearing white armbands, probably to recognise each other,” writer and director Zack Bornstein​ tweeted, sharing photos from the protests.

“Be careful,” he added.

Social media users have suggested it could be the “colour of the day” – where plainclothes police wear something of the same colour to help uniformed officers identify them.

Others have replied to the video of clashes at the Barclays Centre in New York - where thousands of demonstrators stormed the security perimeter on Friday – to say it looked like plainclothes officers were wearing a white piece of cloth around their arms.

“Notice the undercovers with the white armband assisting police,” one user said.

“You can clearly see the guys with the white armbands and vests protecting the officers,” another Twitter user said. “Please watch out for undercover cops.”

The New York Police Department has been approached for comment.

Police made scores of arrests at Friday’s massive demonstration in Brooklyn, where officers occasionally lunged into crowds to pluck people out for arrest after bottles and other projectiles were thrown.

Protests have been taking place in the US for days since the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man, earlier this week.

Demonstrators marched peacefully, stopped traffic and in some cases clashed violently with police in protests across more than a dozen cities on Friday.

Graphic video footage – which has been widely circulated on the internet - showed Floyd gasping for air and repeatedly saying “please, I can’t breathe” while a crowd of bystanders shouted at police to let him up.

After several minutes, Floyd gradually grows unresponsive and ceases to move. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital a short time later.

Derek Chauvin, the fired officer who used his knee to pin the 46-year-old’s neck to the street, was arrested on third-degree murder and manslaughter charges on Monday.

Additional reporting by agencies

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