The drivers saw the commotion on the side of the highway and pulled over to check on the woman surrounded by cops for an alleged traffic violation.
Content warning: This story contains themes of police brutality that some readers may find disturbing
A TikTok video showed people pulling over to the side of a busy highway to show their support for a young Black woman who had been stopped by the police. A TikToker who posted the video said 4-5 officers had stopped a woman for a traffic violation and drew their guns on her. The woman was screaming for help, so a small group of people took out their phones and began filming the cops to let them know they were being watched, said the TikToker Sheni. The incident reflected people's deep mistrust of police officers, and with good reason. When George Floyd was killed by a cop in May 2020, the Minneapolis Police department first reported, "Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction." They had failed to mention that Derek Chauvin had knelt on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, thus killing him. It was a video filmed by 17-year-old Darnella Frazier that revealed what had happed and eventually led to the officer being fired from his job, found guilty of murder, and sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison.
The people who stopped by the highway knew the best way to protect the young Black woman was to film the police interaction to let them know they were being watched. The video posted by @sheniweird on TikTok showed a woman pulled over by officers. Sheni said the woman was unarmed. There were two cop cars and the woman appeared to be leaning against the guardrail while surrounded by hostile cops. Sheni was filming the scene from 100-200 feet away from the cops and more cars were seen pulling over to check on the woman, with a few of them filming the interaction as well. The video was captioned: "We have to start policing the police until things start making sense. In today’s world, it’s still unfair so here go!"
Sheni posted the video along with text and a voiceover, that said:
"When I see a young African American woman screaming for help."
"And it's 3 to 4 White Police with guns drawn on her, and she's unarmed."
"You damn right I'm showing up and showing out until I find out what it's all about."
People stepped out of their cars to see what was going on. Sheni followed suit and walked towards the girl. "You damn right I'm showing up and showing out," they posted. At this point, multiple people had their phones out and were filming the scene. "We need answers every time. She deserves the same respect homegrown terrorists got," said Sheni, possibly referencing the insurrection on Capitol Hill by Trump supporters, who were escorted out of the building by cops at the time.
"You're not just gone shoot her over a traffic violation. Not today," they said. There appeared to be at least five police officers responding to the alleged violation made by one Black woman. "When I pulled over, everyone pulled over," said Sheni. One person who parked close to Sheni gave a thumbs-up as they walked towards the scene. Many praised Sheni and others who pulled their car to the side to check on the woman. The concern of the people was just a reaction to far too many instances of police brutality against Black and brown people in the United States. According to a study, over the course of their lifetime, about 1 in every 1,000 Black men can expect to be killed by police. It also noted that Black and Indigenous people are significantly more likely than white people to be killed by police.