KEY POINTS

  • Protesters outside Treasury Building ask black officers to take a knee
  • One officer appreciates the protests but explains that he can't
  • One officer knelt briefly
  • Protesters understood situation of officers

Washington protesters asked black Secret Service officers to “take a knee” and stand in solidarity with them in their demonstration against systemic racism and police brutality.

On Saturday (June 6), Reuters TV caught an interaction between protesters and an African-American member of the Secret Service outside the Treasury building in Washington.

The unidentified officer expressed his appreciation for the movement but he explained why he could not do it.

“You guys are still fighting for my rights,” he told the protesters through a fence outside the Treasury building. “What I’m saying is, technically we just can’t do that.”

 

The country’s capital saw its biggest rally yet as thousands went out to protest the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was taken into Minneapolis police custody and died allegedly due to the actions of the officers.

According to Reuters, African-American officers ranging from members of the federal law agencies to the small-town municipal police officers had to work in the front lines of the nationwide protests in the past 13 days.

Some of the protesters present at the Treasury Department demonstrations sympathized with the officer’s situation.

“I’m a military guy and when you are in uniform, there’s certain things you can and can’t do,” one protester told the crowd.

One black female Secret Service officer took the call to “take the knee” and the crowds cheered when she knelt for a brief while.

Meanwhile, another black Secret Service officer told the African-American majority of the protesters that he respected their motivation for their demonstrations, Reuters reported.

“I got into this profession because of how I grew up in Georgia; what I’ve had to witness, the stories that I’ve had to hear from my parents,” the third officer said. “But also I’m talking to you as another black man just to say, this is something that encourages me. And just like you’re out there for me, consider what I’m doing here, for you.”

The demonstrators hope that their protests turn into a “broader quest for reform” of the U.S. criminal justice system and how the group of minorities is treated.

Catrina Thompson, police chief of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and also the mother of a black teen with autism assured the protesters that the actions of the Minneapolis officer allegedly involved in Floyd’s death do not represent the majority of the U.S. law enforcement.

“I would not stand here in this position and in any way, shape or form support anybody in our organization if I believed they would bring harm to my son or any of you,” she said.

IMAGES Protesters gather peacefully in the afternoon in Washington, DC, to demonstrate peacfully against police brutality. Crowds flock to the White House and walk along the newly-renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza. IMAGES Protesters gather peacefully in the afternoon in Washington, DC, to demonstrate peacfully against police brutality. Crowds flock to the White House and walk along the newly-renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza. Photo: AFPTV / Gilles CLARENNE