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The police pretended to side with protestors, then fired tear gas. They aren't our pals.

After dozens of rosy posts of police officers kneeling cropped up online, protestors revealed what actually happened at the scene.

The police pretended to side with protestors, then fired tear gas. They aren't our pals.
Image Source: (Top) National Guard Called In As Protests And Unrest Erupt Across Los Angeles Causing Widespread Damage. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 2. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images) (Bottom) lamisildigger / Twitter

All over social media, we've seen instances of police officials joining in on protests or expressing some form of solidarity with protestors. However, they are still part of an institution that actively maintains a system of racism within the United States. In shocking news, protestors revealed that police officers had pretended to join demonstrations by "taking a knee" or holding banners - right before firing tear gas or rubber bullets at the crowd. These are prime examples of why police departments and those who work within them are tools of state machinery, not folks trying to protect citizens and their right to dissent.

 



 

Various accounts on Twitter have come forward to reveal that performances of solidarity from police officers have been followed by the firing of tear gas and other forms of police brutality. For instance, in response to a post by the Orlando Police Department of a photo in which two police officers can be seen kneeling and shaking hands with black protestors, Twitter user NeeNeinNyetNo clarified what came after the photo op. They revealed, "Literally 45 minutes later they maced us in the face for the crime of standing in their vicinity." Unfortunately, this user is not the only one to experience such hypocrisy.

 



 

Another Twitter user based in Detroit shared that officials from the Detroit Police Department knelt with demonstrators, before, yet again, authorizing tear gas to be fired into the crowd. They affirmed, "F*ck their performances." This calls into question the validity of social media posts and news articles highlighting the "precious" moments of a protest. It also proves another thing: cops aren't your friends. If you're out protesting, they are here to make sure you stop - by force or otherwise. Ultimately, we must remember that the police represent the state and there are limitations to the kind of solidarity that they can express.

 



 

Demonstrator Aleeia Abraham, one of the protestors in Queens, New York, who filmed a video of police officers kneeling along with protestors, said it is important not to overlook those very limitations. "What we’re really looking for is action," she said. "I’ll be even more impressed when we’re not stepped on and gunned down. That’s the moment I’m looking for." Let's also not forget the intersections between race and profession. If you're a black police officer, what are your limitations? Do they look different from the rest of your department's? Does it feel it like you have to pick a side? For many, this is the case.

 



 

While some of us have been taking respite in the cutesy videos of protestors hugging police officers, for others, these clips only bring a feeling of dread. One Instagram user stated, "The gutwrenching feeling I get watching black people hug these agents of white supremacy knowing damn well they’ll shoot you in an instant. No hesitation. With paid leave." In light of this reality, several folks have demanded that cops who truly believe in expressing solidarity with the movement quit the force. Is this realistic for many? Perhaps not. But maybe it is finally time to put humanity before badge and gun.

 



 

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