These police officers tried to join the protesters in solidarity but it divided opinion

At a protest in Santa Cruz, California, a group of police officers were pictured ‘taking a knee’ alongside demonstrators and Santa Cruz mayor Justin Cummings.

Kneeling, already a symbol adopted by anti-racism protesters thanks to NFL demonstrations, has emerged as an even more loaded act following the death of George Floyd.

Floyd died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes.

In a tweet, the Santa Cruz police department said it was “fully supportive” of peaceful protests and would “always keep them safe”.

The tweet also explicitly cited “police violence against black people” as the reason for the protest.

Many social media users praised the Santa Cruz officers for their action.

It was called a “hopeful sign”.

And an example of “leadership”.

But others weren’t so easily swayed.

Many are arguing that it is not enough to simply have ‘good’ cops if the entire system is institutionally racist and oppressive.

So there were loud critics of the police taking a knee.

Especially those who had experience of SCPD policing methods.

Others said Santa Cruz was not an example to be held up.

One Twitter user called the image of officers kneeling “powerfully stupid”.

Cops protesting: powerful or performative?

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