Fayetteville police officers kneel in solidarity with George Floyd protesters

Michael Lozano Image
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Fayetteville officers kneel in solidarity with George Floyd protesters
Fayetteville officers kneel in solidarity with George Floyd protesters

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Fayetteville police officers knelt in solidarity with demonstrators on Murchison Road during Monday's protest.

The protesters met at Broncos Square and began marching along Murchison Road at 5 p.m.

Hundreds of people were in the crowd, holding signs and chanting "Black Lives Matter" and "I can't breathe."

Fayetteville PD blocked off some roads, leading the crowd through some neighborhoods. However, when people were unable to enter Ray Avenue to head towards the downtown area, pushing and shoving between protesters and officers started. We don't know who started the pushing.

ABC11 then saw several officers detain a man, eventually tasing him when he wouldn't cooperate with authorities.

RAW: Fayetteville leaders speak after officers kneel with protesters

This arrest, around 5:30 p.m., elevated emotions within the crowd, leaving many verbally upset with what transpired, many telling me they believed it to be excessive force.

From there, officers began to ask protesters to work their way back to the Broncos Square near Fayetteville State University, building a perimeter and keeping them away from the downtown area.

The crowd, eventually, made its way back there where they were in a stalemate with officers dressed in tactical gear.

As the hours passed, many individuals continued to ask for the man who was arrested to be released by authorities.

Captain Todd Joyce, who was there throughout the evening, told ABC11 the man, who was not identified, was released and given a citation for failure to disperse and resisting an officer.

The officers in tactical gear remained stretched across Murchison Road with the National Guard standing by.

Around 8:30 p.m., several individuals in the crowd were able to encourage the crowd and police officers to kneel together, including Josh Wiley.

After both sides knelt, as a sign of unity, the protest ended with hugs and hand shakes between the officers and protesters.

Wiley told ABC11 he has a connection to both sides, being an African American and working as a correctional officer at Scotland Correctional.

"I deal with situations like that every day working at the Scotland Correctional. So, the first, the first, you know, normal reaction is violence. That's the easier part. The hardest part is actually to have a conversation," Wiley said.

The department said it knelt along with the demonstrators for a "show of understanding the pain that is in our community and our nation regarding equality."

"Our department is committed to listening and treating everyone with dignity and respect," a statement from Fayetteville police read.

Fayetteville first responders talk delayed response to Saturday night unrest

The city is under a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.