Protesters demanding justice and change in the wake of the latest police killing of a Black man were joined in solidarity on Saturday by officers in Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown, a Black teen, was killed by police in 2014.
Ferguson Police Chief Jason Armstrong, who joined the department last year, took a knee in honor of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck while Floyd was restrained on the ground.
Videos posted to Twitter captured Armstrong at one point marching with protesters who were chanting “hands up, don’t shoot,” as well as several Ferguson police officers kneeling on the pavement to applause from the crowd.
Armstrong and his officers joined about 500 people that had gathered outside of the police department in protest, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
For weeks in August 2014, Ferguson was the scene of violent protests after a white police officer fatally shot Brown, who was unarmed, for what he claimed were self-defense reasons.
Ferguson “was a wake up call to law enforcement. It definitely got my attention. It forced me to look at what (police) were doing,” Armstrong, who is Black, told the Post-Dispatch. “It opened my eyes to be a leader, to build that change and build better relationships.”
The Ferguson police department on Saturday was later partially evacuated after protesters smashed its windows with bricks and other heavy debris, according to the St. Louis County Police Department, which said it was assisting the situation.