Five-year-old Simone Bartee suddenly burst into tears while she was participating in a peaceful march over the killing of George Floyd, with her family in Houston, Texas on Saturday.
A passing officer noticed that she was upset and asked her what was wrong. Wondering if the officer was going to hurt her family, she asked: “Are you gonna shoot us?”.
In a bid to reassure her, he gave her a hug and said: “We’re here to protect you okay? We’re not here to hurt you at all. You can protest, you can party, you can do whatever you want… just don’t break anything.”
The little girl replied with a nod.
A video of the moment, captured by Simone’s parents Sion and Simeon, went viral on Twitter with many calling it “emotional”.
@malia_aguiar tweeted: “It is 10am and I am crying in my parking lot watching this video. The fear this little girl has should not exist. This cop handled it perfectly and I wish they all would handle the situation like this. There is no reason to kill innocent people for protesting.”
And, tweep @kristiswift posted: “Seems like police depts. all over the US should be looking at Houston’s response to the protests. This is beautiful. Be safe!”
The death of Floyd, 46, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis after white police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against his neck for nearly eight minutes, has sparked protests across the US and the world, with thousands breaking coronavirus restrictions to show their solidarity. Children are also participating in the protests.
Meanwhile, some Twitter users took to the micro blogging site to discuss whether it was okay for parents to be bringing their children to these protests.
Tweep @Chugarz posted: “What kind of parent takes their child to a protest… Especially when these “peaceful” protests require the presence of SWAT and police in riot gear.”
And, @StephStance added: “It’s sad that a parent would expose their child to such rhetoric.”
Another video of a seven-year-old protestor in New York went viral, with many saying that most African-American children have already been victims of racism.
Tweep @rochelleriley posted: “People will say she is too young. People will say she’s being subjected to things she shouldn’t know. She knows. And black Americans have been subjected to racism since birth for centuries.”
Derek Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder, while three of his colleagues who were with him, stand accused of aiding and abetting.