On the evening of May 31, peaceful protesters marched from the Brunswick Mall to stand in front of the Brunswick Police Department on Pleasant Street. We were chanting phrases such as “Black lives matter” and “No justice, no peace.” This wasn’t unlike the other protests I have attended in the past few days.

At that point, four or five police officers were across the street in the laundromat parking lot. As a group, we took a knee, and chanted both George Floyd’s name and “take a knee” at the officers.

They refused, and in response a man crossed the street and kneeled in front of them, followed by a large crowd. We begged the officers to take a knee. But while one of them hugged the black man who was leading the protest, they refused. This was a photo op, not a declaration. While white protesters used violent and combative language toward the officers, the people of color present — who have the most cause to be angry — were placed in a conciliatory role.

Contrary to our belief at the time – that the officers had been ordered not to kneel – we later learned that it was the officers’ personal choice not to “take a knee.”

Lack of action speaks louder than words, and this choice not to kneel in solidarity with the protest against police brutality was very telling.

It showed that even the “good cops” who are not responsible for taking innocent lives refused to show, even symbolically, that they support this cause.

Chloe Brzozowski


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