Heartwarming footage has emerged showing a US police officer comforting a five-year-old African-American girl at a protest.
The girl was crying and had asked if he was “gonna shoot” her, but the Texan cop knelt on the ground and assured the girl that she was safe.
Since the protests began 12 days ago, many cases of police brutality have come to light. Protesters have been shot with rubber bullets, with one person losing an eye.
According to the her dad, the young girl, Simone Bartee, caught the attention of one of the police officers at a Houston protest two days ago when she started crying.
She was clearly worried as she asked the officer: “Are you gonna shoot us?’
The officer then crouched down next to Simone and wrapped his arm around her shoulders.
“We’re here to protect you, OK?” the officer could be heard saying in the clip.
“We’re not here to hurt you at all. You can protest, you can party, you can do whatever you want – just don’t break nothing.”
Simone could be seen nodding as she took in the officer’s words.
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It’s unclear whether Simone feared getting shot with a real bullet or a rubber one, given the situation, though she may have feared both.
The video garnered mixed responses online.
Some condemned the parents for bringing someone so young to a protest.
One Twitter user posted a powerful picture from four days ago showing a child on the shoulders of her dad, with police pointing guns in their direction.
“I hate that she was there because this is traumatic,” the user commented, along with the picture.
Others criticised the police officer for the wording he used.
It’s not the only kind incident by law enforcement that has shocked protesters.
Earlier this week, news.com.au reported on a sheriff who took off his riot gear and helmet and peacefully joined protesters in Michigan.