A black police officer has been praised online for protecting a group of racist white protesters who carried Confederate flags and signs reading ‘White Lives Matter’ and ‘Black Lives Kill’ during a demonstration in Dallas.
Footage of the protest shows at least one black officer, armed with a rifle, standing guard in front of the protesters as they argued with passers-by.
The White Lives Matter rally – a counterdemonstration to the Black Lives Matter movement – was held on Sunday following this month’s police shooting deaths of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota and the killings Dallas police officers – events which have further strained race relations.
The video was posted on Twitter by Dallas Morning News reporter Elizabeth Djinis and flooded with comments from viewers who pointed out that a black police officer was protecting the white protesters.
One Twitter user wrote: ‘It’s a visual representation of #irony and #hypocrisy; #Racist protesters using black police officers for protection.’
Another wrote: ‘Black cops protecting them makes this a real life satirical cartoon.’
Footage posted on the Dallas Morning News’ YouTube page shows a member of the protest wearing a baseball hat reading ‘white pride’ and another wearing a T-shirt with the Celtic cross, a symbol that has been adopted by white supremacists, and ‘White Lives Matter’ on it.
Other clips recorded by Djinis and posted on Twitter show tense scenes involving the protesters and people who challenged them on the street.
One woman repeatedly yells ‘all lives matter’ at the protesters, adding: ‘I don’t give a damn what ya’ll do.’
In another clip, a man knocks a smartphone out of the hands of a female protester as she records footage during a heated face-off.
Moments earlier, a passer-by tells the protesters: ‘Ya’ll got guns. Ya’ll got weapons. We’ve got fists.’
Later, the passers-by danced to a Michael Jackson song in front of the protesters and asked ‘Can’t we get along?’
Near the end of the protest, a black man told the group: ‘Just cause you’re all white and ya’ll got your own opinions don’t mean that I don’t love ya’ll even more, that’s what makes me love ya’ll harder.’
The White Lives Matter protesters shouted ‘blue lives matter’ at times in support of police following the deaths of Dallas police officers Senior Cpl Lorne Ahrens, 48, Michael Krol, 40, Sgt Michael Smith, 55, and Patrick Zamarripa, 32, and Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) police officer Brent Thompson, 43, who were ambushed by a sniper during a Black Lives Matter event on July 7.
The gunman, 25-year-old black Army veteran Micah Johnson, targeted white officers before he was killed by police, and was reportedly angry over the deaths of Alton Sterling, 37, and Philando Castile, 32.
Sterling was tackled and fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 5 and Castile was killed by an officer during a traffic stop near St Paul, Minnesota, on July 6.
Tension remained high in Baton Rouge following Sterling’s death, and on Sunday three police officers were shot dead by gunman Gavin Long, a black Iraq war veteran who served in the Marines from 2005 to 2010 before he was honorably discharged, and achieved the rank of sergeant.
The shooting occurred on Long’s 29th birthday.
The officers were identified as Brad Garafola, 45, Matthew Gerald, 41, and Montrell Jackson, 32.
Gerald and Jackson worked for the Baton Rouge Police Department, while Garafola was with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.