New York City’s top cop has knelt with protesters marching after the death of black man George Floyd in police custody in Minnesota, urging violence to stop in the city they share.
NYPD chief Terence Monahan was handed a microphone to address the large crowd at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village on Monday night.
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The demonstration started to boil over when bottles were thrown at a wall of armed NYPD officers wearing helmets.
“Everyone, this has got to end,” Mr Monahan said.
“We all know Minnesota was wrong. They were arrested, which they should be. There is not a police officer over here that thinks Minnesota was justified.
“But this is our city, our city, do not let people not from this city have you come here and screw-up your city. We cannot be fighting. We have to live here. This is our home.”
Holding hands with two protesters, and to the count of three, Mr Monahan knelt on the ground.
“Thank you for supporting us,” one organiser can be heard saying in videos from the scene.
According to ABC7 New York, Monahan said the moment was important to show the first step in “getting this together” and “getting those groups out of here”.
“The people who live in New York want New York to end the violence,” he said.
“Get the intruders that are not from this city the hell out of here and give us back our city.”
Mr Monahan said he thought taking a knee was “appropriate” and hugged to show solidarity.
Protest leaders also asked for his help to better organise their peaceful marches in future.
Mr Monahan has previously addressed his department of “NYPD cops” via his Twitter account.
“There’s no doubt we will have more long days and nights – dangers that we will all face,” he said.
“Know that I’ll proudly be by your side as you help lead our city through these tense times. You have my support and personal gratitude.”
WHY ARE POLICE ‘TAKING A KNEE’ WITH PROTESTERS?
In 2016, then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose to kneel instead of stand for the national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.
He was joined by NFL teammate Eric Reid.
The action, for police brutality against unarmed black people, unleashed the “take a knee” movement in the US but Kaepernick was also vilified and labelled unpatriotic.
US President Donald Trump said: “Get that son of a b*tch off the field right now, he’s fired.”
Derek Chauvin, one of four Minneapolis Police officers fired after the death of George Floyd, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
He was filmed with his knee on the back of the 46-year-old’s neck for almost nine minutes.
People protesting his death across the US have knelt before police and held up their hands while some have donned Kaerpernick jerseys.
POLICE CONDEMN OFFICERS INVOLVED
Sheriffs and police chiefs have strongly criticised the four Minneapolis officers on social media and praised the city’s chief for his quick dismissal of them. Some called for them all to be criminally charged.
Minneapolis Police Department chief Medaria Arradondo said he considered silence or a lack of intervention as being “complicit”.
“My decision to fire all four officers was not based on some sort of hierarchy. Mr Floyd died in our hands so I see that as being complicit,” he said.
“I don’t see a difference … in terms of the ultimate outcome, he is not here with us.”
In a post on Facebook, Polk County, Georgia sheriff Johnny Moats wrote: “I am deeply disturbed by the video of Mr Floyd being murdered in the street with other officers there letting it go on.”
“I can assure everyone, me or any of my deputies will never treat anyone like that as long as I’m sheriff. This kind of brutality is terrible and it needs to stop. All officers involved need to be arrested and charged immediately.”
San Jose Police, California chief Eddie Garcia tweeted: “Not going hide behind ‘not being there’.”
“What I saw happen to George Floyd disturbed me and is not consistent with the goal of our mission. The act of one, impacts us all.”
A sheriff in the city of Flint Township, Michigan spoke with demonstrators on Saturday after they were met by police officers in riot gear.
Genesee County sheriff Chris Swanson said his officers were “here to help” and were not involved in the “nonsense”.
“The only reason we’re here is to make sure you’ve got a voice, that’s it,” Mr Swanson said.
“Don’t think for a second that he (Chauvin) represents who cops are from all over the county, and all over the nation.
“We’re here to help people, not do that nonsense! I’m just gonna tell you, we want to be with y’all, for real.”
The crowd chanted for the sheriff to walk with them. Mr Swanson replied: “We’ll walk all night.”