Cleveland deputy police chief, other officers kneel with protesters

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– Protests over the death of George Floyd continued Tuesday across the country and in Cleveland. Downtown remains closed so dozens of demonstrators gathered in front of the Cleveland Division of Police First District Headquarters on West 130th Street Tuesday afternoon.

At first, the crowd shouted at officers things like “Defund the police,” but then something remarkable happened. Deputy Chief Wayne Drummond and multiple other officers approached the protesters, climbed over the metal barriers and took a knee in solidarity.

Drummond told the protesters that Cleveland’s approximately 1,600 officers are just as upset over Floyd’s murder and the video showing a Minneapolis officer pinning him beneath his knee for nearly 9 minutes.

“As a man of color, it was very difficult to watch. I didn’t want to watch it initially,” said Deputy Chief Drummond, “What I saw was inhumane, what I saw was criminal and for them to arrest him was the right thing to do, any right-thinking person or police officer knows what he did was wrong.”

The 31-year veteran of the force said he understands they want change, and that things have already been underway in Cleveland to improve training and hiring practices. However, he said it takes time and even then sometimes bad actors slip through the cracks.

“Even with all the training you may have individuals who act out of policy and on their own, and those individuals we’d like to find and prosecute, if they’re doing anything illegal or criminal and then get rid of them,” Drummond said.

After talking for at least 15 to 20 minutes the protesters marched from West 130th all the way over to West 117th and Lorain Avenue.

As is customary, police on bikes and in cruisers made sure intersections were safe, and that neither protesters or civilians were hurt. When they stopped, multiple officers also took a knee with the demonstrators in solidarity.

“That’s all we asked for, this is so much more,” said a protester.

“Unite! Unite with us everybody unite,” said another.

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