At least one Atlanta police officer is being praised for his conduct at the Black Lives Matter protest on Friday night. Officer Z. Murphy was caught on video speaking freely with demonstrators, listening to their grievances and showing them compassion. Many online are now saying that he should be the template for police behavior around the country.
Officer Murphy stood relaxed within the crowd of protesters in Atlanta on Friday evening. He was explaining to some of them why he shut down activity in another part of town that day, and why he was letting this peaceful demonstration carry on. What was going on up here was wrong, that's why we brought it to a stop. The loudspeaker, the yakking, and the yapping," he said. "We said 'pause, let these people remain here, let them stay on the street, let them express their grievances,' because you have a right to be p—ed off."
It was not clear what other group Murphy had helped shut down, but it was clear that he dealt with them more firmly than with the people in this video. He said quite bluntly that he "told them to shut the f— up."
Murphy also told protesters that he has two sons — one 31, and one 15 years old — and has "to have these conversations with them all the time." Protesters seemed to accept that he was on their side, with one even remarking that he needs to give some of his "energy" to the rest of the police department. Murphy responded: "one at a time, my brother, one at a time," then fist-bumped the protester.
The clip went viral overnight and became a beacon of hope amid the rapidly-escalating demonstrations around the country. Many hoped that Murphy's conduct was a sign of change to come, though others argued that he should not get too much leeway, claiming he still contributes to the systemic issues of policing. Here is a break-down of what Twitter in general had to say about Murphy's speech on Friday.
The Atlanta police officer who showed that he truly cared for the people he protects. 🤞🏾 pic.twitter.com/9quRLsE80O— m✨ (@micahwilk_26) May 30, 2020
'Good Cops, Bad System'
Most cops are good. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a systematic problem... starting with elected officials like police chiefs, district attorneys— 303 Man (@CO303Man) May 30, 2020
I feel bad for cops like this man. They automatically gettin grouped in with the bad ones.— Rihanna’s bitch (@beanablato) May 30, 2020
This officer needs to be promoted ASAP. He’s a natural leader yet compassionate.— Haji (@Hamzikji) May 30, 2020
yes i actually think that a lot more of this would help— Cream (@Creamllamax) May 30, 2020
I felt that— Forrest hills drive track 8 (@Ohyeawakeupyeaa) May 30, 2020
Reading your comment really made me tear up bc it’s like he’s like right in the middle. literally. police officers are his people and black people are his people. in this moment either side he chooses will be seen as disgraceful to someone.— Teona Brown (@Teona_brown02) May 30, 2020
'He Still Chose Blue'
agreed— 👩🏾🦽allegra montana😎 (@ihave2shit) May 30, 2020
Because he still willingly signed up for a job thats purpose is to make profits through ticketing and enforce the law no matter how draconian— pain. (@DavidKristoff2) May 30, 2020
Please keep us updated if he is safe— . (@ssniperghostt) May 30, 2020
We need to find this guy and give him all the support we can finally a black cop not showing out for the white ones— RezMaker キング (@SlumptRez) May 30, 2020
May he make it home safe and healthy to his family every night until he grows old. Blessings to him and all law enforcement officers like this— ❌ Huds ❌ (@hvmmmmm) May 30, 2020