NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Images of NYPD officers taking a knee in solidarity with George Floyd protesters are garnering praise from demonstrators and officials alike.
An NYPD officer was seen taking a knee in Times Square Sunday and was then hugged by a demonstrator.
NYPD officer takes a knee at Times Square pic.twitter.com/22H6gDSmxx
— Laura Noonan (@LauraNoonanFT) May 31, 2020
An NYPD official also took a knee garnering chants of “thank you” and “keep the peace” amid a demonstration on Jamaica Avenue in Queens on Sunday.
WATCH: Police officers across the country kneel and march in solidarity with protesters. pic.twitter.com/QnuWcH6fPL
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 1, 2020
“Showing the NYPD is listening, working with the community. This kind of thing, our police leadership reaching out, connecting with the community. This is the entire concept of neighborhood policing, and that’s true in the middle of this difficult moment. In fact, it is how we’re going to overcome this moment and move forward,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I commend and I thank all the police leaders who found a way to reach out, listen and connect and the restraint of so many of our officers.”
On Monday, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas spoke with New Yorkers trying their best to make things better.
“What do you tell an 11-year-old black boy right now with everything that’s going on?” concerned mother Sharawn Vincent said.
With tears and fear in her eyes, Vincent is like so many black mothers looking for answers. This after her son, Mason, had a recent traumatic experience with police.
“I can’t get him to empty the garbage because they’re searching the buildings with guns drawn … For two weeks I had to keep him home and he has to have therapy,” Vincent said.
NYPD Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey knows the pain of this community and is among the officers who took a knee this weekend in solidarity with protesters.
“When the protestors asked me to take a knee, it was an easy thought. Nothing hard to think about. I did it for peace, I did it for unity and I did it for healing,” Maddrey said.
It wasn’t until the death of Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody that law enforcement agencies started crossing what has been a blue line of silence to denounce it. Black officers are in a unique position, knowing both the personal heartache and professional responsibility. That includes Brooklyn Borough President and former officer Eric Adams.
“We need to separate those officers who have displayed a high level of violence from those who are doing an amazing job every day,” Adams said.
He joined officers, clergy and community activists denouncing the destruction and looting by outsiders that followed largely peaceful protests in the city.
Community leaders say the next steps include facilitating discussions between young people, especially young black boys and police.