Everything is not Black-and-White
June 2nd, 2020
I don’t have a photo for you today, I have a story.
Today, while I was covering the Black Lives Matter protests in Los Angeles, in response to George Floyd being murdered by a MN police officer, a notable moment occurred.
First, I can’t post the photos because they were shot while I was working. But I think you can paint this picture in your mind and heart better anyway.
As I documented the protester’s catharses and venting, as they yelled and chanted and confronted LAPD officers and National Guard standing on the steps of the LAPD Police Headquarters downtown, a young bright-eyed hispanic man caught my attention. He stood at the barricade with a sign that on one side said “I support you LAPD” and on the other side “Thank you LAPD”. He flipped the sign back to front, so the row of officers lined up in front of him could see it. He was about 19 years old, and I think is a person with Aspergers. He just idolizes police officers as his heroes and wanted to support them.
As I took his photo from afar, white protesters next to him grabbed the sign and tore it up and yelled at him. A young black man stretched his arms out to protect him and calmed the crowd around them, but his sign had been all ripped up and destroyed. He stood there at the chest-high barrier, broken. He hung his hands over the metal railing just staring ahead at the officers lined up in front of him. It felt like a moment he had experienced before, bullied, and it broke my heart.
The crowd dispersed and moved to City Hall, but he still stood there with a few other people, with the same dulled expression on his face. Then as the street cleared, he went and collected all the pieces of his torn-up pink sign from the ground. It was written on pink poster board. I mentioned aloud “oh look he’s collecting the pieces of his sign” and I told the story to the officers I stood near. One of the higher ranking officers immediately went over to him and called him back to the barrier. He thanked the young man, shook his hand, and then the young man asked him to autograph a piece of his remaining poster. The officer signed it Thank you from LAPD. I think he made his day.
I don’t know what more to say except, that everything is not black-and-white.
Black Lives Matter Protest during COVID-19 Pandemic… June 2nd, 2020
#BLM, #Protest, #Pandemic, #COVID19, #GeorgeFloyd, #LAPD
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