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Protester arrested after telling police he loves and respects them

Li Cohen

Kneeling in front of a group of at least a dozen police officers at a greenspace in Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday, Givionne "Gee" Jordan Jr. made one thing clear to the officers holding baton sticks, he was "not their enemy." Then moments later, two officers handcuffed him and sent him to jail.

In a video circulating on social media, Jordan can be seen and heard pleading with the officers to consider the perspective of the protesters, saying, "We are all people. All of you are my family."

"I love each and every one of you. I cry at night because I feel your pain. ... I feel the pain of black people. I feel the pain of white people. I feel the pain of innocent cops. We're all scared," he cried. "We gotta stop living in fear. I am not your enemy. You are not my enemy."

VIDEO: A Charleston protester was arrested this weekend minutes after telling police officers, "I love each and every one of you. I cry at night, because I feel your pain."His name is Gee Jordan, and he is now out of jail. @Live5News pic.twitter.com/4b80R163gx

— Rob Way (@RobWayTV) June 2, 2020

As he continued to speak, other protesters knelt beside him, placing their hands on Jordan's back and shoulders in solidarity. The cops appeared to continue clutching their batons, even as Jordan said, "I love you and I respect you."

"I want to understand all of you," he said. "I would love to see the best side of everybody here. This is not the best side of everybody here. ... Then you can take the whole perspective of how you do someone, because of their side, because of how you see them in a different light."

"We gotta stop judging people only on our bad days. We all have them to some degree. How are you on your good days?" he pleaded. "Do you want to make a stand? Do you want to make a change? Because if we charge you and you charge us, what is that really doing?"

Then, he was arrested. In a video of the incident, it appears as though the police single out Jordan for the arrest.

In an interview with local newspaper The Post and Courier, Jordan said he wanted the roughly 200 people to kneel in front of the cops to show them that "we are no threat." He was among dozens arrested over the weekend to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

He had spent the morning volunteering, sweeping the streets of downtown Charleston, and helping business owners board up their stores. The area he was helping clean was vandalized by looters the night prior. 

"My plan was to get all the people beside me, kneeling behind me, kneeling with me," he told the newspaper. "Showing the cops that we are no threat. We are no threat at all. We just want to make the world better."

According to the Charleston Police Department arrest record, Jordan, 23, was arrested for "disobeying lawful order." He was released from jail the following morning on $465 bond, and has a court date scheduled for June 16. 

The Charleston Police Department has not returned CBS News' request for comment.

According to The Post and Courier, Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds has defended the arrest, saying that the protest was tense and the crowd had been ordered to break up.

"We specifically asked for them, numerous times, to disperse," he told The Post and Courier. "We said if you don't you will be arrested."

During the protest at Marion Square, police fired what are believed to be non-lethal projectiles at the protesters, according to the newspaper. Jordan said that he was arrested around 5 p.m. The city's curfew didn't start until an hour later.

Reflecting days later about the incident, Jordan told CBS affiliate WCSC-TV that he was at Marion Square to stand up for a promise to make things better and work together.

"This is how we change. This is how we move the needle," he said. "This is how we have a better future not only for ourselves but for our kids and their kids. This is how we do it. We unite as one, because at the end of the day, I got to walk the same trail you walk."

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