ATLANTA — A touching video between a protester and a white police officer in Atlanta has gone viral.
Channel 2 Anchor Wendy Corona spoke with the protester, Farees Kaleemah, who has been peacefully protesting every day.
Video shot Sunday shows Kaleemah acting as a bridge builder between protesters and police, which turned into a display of understanding and unity.
"There are police officers who put on that badge to really make a change, and I realized that that day," Kaleemah said.
Atlanta police were working to clear the are around Centennial Olympic Park Sunday night. Kaleemah said the peaceful protest ended as it got dark. That's when police moved in and fired tear gas.
When the smoke cleared, Kaleemah went face-to-face with Lieutenant Kevin Knapp.
"Give us 10 minutes of walking with us," Kaleemah says to Knapp in the video. "Show us that you’re with me, and they’ll go home peacefully. I promise you."
That's exactly what happened. Police understood the plea and compromised, despite the 9 p.m. curfew inching closer and danger all around.
"We’re walking together," Kahleemah says in the video. "Yes, the cops are walking with us.”
The action of unity provided a blanket of safety for peaceful protesters whose message and even personal safety were being threatened with chaos.
"Right after the video cut off, somebody in the back threw a very big firework, like a big July 4th firework," Kaleemah said.
He said police remained calm and even covered the protesters.
Kaleemah said he hopes the video serves as an inspiration to others to protest peacefully.
“We’re all human at the end of the day," Kaleemah said. "It shows that we gotta be one. We have to be united."
Corona learned the officer in the video, Knapp, was on Georgia Tech's 1998 fotoball team.
Kaleemah said he went into the protests with a different mindset after the way Knapp and other officers walked and supported them all that night.
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