- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Police Chief Michael D. Shaw of Webster, Massachusetts, defended himself Monday after a video showing him lying on the ground in solidarity with George Floyd protesters went viral.

Chief Shaw joined Black Lives Matter protesters outside his station Saturday and laid facedown with his hands behind his back for nearly nine minutes, an homage to Floyd, who was pinned by the neck by a Minneapolis police officer for nearly nine minutes before his death on May 25.

A video of the protest captured by Telegram & Gazette photographer Ashley Green racked up more than 1.5 million views and conservative commentators blasted the police chief for appeasing radicals. But Chief Shaw wrote a letter Monday saying his action “wasn’t a grand gesture to insult law enforcement.

“It wasn’t a global commentary on everything occurring. It was not intended to turn the conversation onto me,” he wrote. “It was one man in a position to help promote change and to support, amongst others, three great young adults who are already becoming leaders in their own right.

“Simply talking about certain injustices, versus taking peaceful action against them are two different things,” he wrote. “Supporting peaceful protestors does not mean that I do not support Law Enforcement. I support both. You can discuss the issue of systemic racism and do your part to end injustices, all while supporting good, grassroots, community-oriented policing.”

The “three great young adults” the police chief was referring to are Benjamin Lawson, Abigail Cooper and Jerard Rice, who organized Saturday’s protest.

Abigail, 15, told the Telegram & Gazette that she’s proud of the way Chief Shaw handled the demonstration.

“There’s no reason to come at him. He did a good thing,” the high school sophomore said.

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