New York protests: NYPD filmed taking a knee with George Floyd protesters

'It's a nice start, but it's nowhere near enough'

Louise Hall
Tuesday 02 June 2020 02:00 BST
New York police filmed kneeling with protesters

New York City police officers were filmed kneeling with protesters during a George Floyd demonstration in Queens.

A video filmed by Aleeia Abraham revealed how during the demonstration, a number of protesters take to their knees and exclaim in shock and support when police officers do so alongside them in solidarity.

“I definitely didn't expect that,” Ms Abraham told CNN. “I've never seen that.”

The protests in New York follow the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, who died in custody after a Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground by his neck for a prolonged period of time.

Outrage over Floyd’s death has erupted in the last week, with violent protests and demonstrators breaking out across the US and in particular Minneapolis, where Floyd died.

The New York march was peaceful and included a couple of hundred people, Ms Abraham said.

The Floyd protests have extended into wider themes surrounding the death of black people at the hands of police, and institutional racism throughout the country.

Taking the knee has become a widely recognised symbol of protest against police brutality and racism.

The act was originally born out of American civil rights activist and later American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick's, and subsequent US athletes, demonstrations against racism and brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.

While many New York protesters were surprised by the gesture, some have emphasised how it does not compensate for the brutality black people face at the hands of the US justice system.

“I really want to be clear that that's not enough. It's a nice start, but it's nowhere near enough,” Ms Abraham told the broadcaster.

Additionally, not all members of the NYPD joined in with the periodic 'take a knee' protests throughout the day.

In the late afternoon, demonstrators congregated in Times Square after marching through Manhattan to listen to short speeches from activists.

At one point the large crowd all took a knee, many raising a fist in the air, and began shouting “NYPD take a knee!”.

A reporter for The Independent who was stationed near a group of about eight police officers monitoring the protestors noted that many protesters turned to face them as they chanted, but the police did not kneel.

Later on, the same crowd moved downtown, ending up outside the New York County Supreme Court building to listen to more testimonials from activists leading the protest.

The crowd once again broke out in “NYPD take a knee!” chant, which led to several officers going down on one knee, met with huge cheers and applause.

“I'll be even more impressed when we're not stepped on and gunned down. That's the moment I'm looking for," Ms Abraham added.

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