It was a dramatically different scene in Manassas tonight as police officers took a knee with Black Lives Matter protestors in a show of solidarity.
The rally on Liberia Avenue started about 5 p.m., with demonstrators carrying signs and chanting. Instead of meeting protestors in riot gear as police did Saturday night, officers talked with the crowd -- and two Prince William County police officers took a knee.
A very positive protest this evening at the Liberia Walmart. A pastor was there with a PA system helping to keep it peaceful and positive. Deputy Police Chief Jarad Phelps and Manassas Police Chief Doug Keen were both there to help and to answer questions and work with us. pic.twitter.com/sSu4qYOqhz— Mike Freeland (@freelandmike) June 1, 2020
Manassas City Police Chief Douglas W. Keen hosted a question and answer session with demonstrators, as did Prince William County Deputy Police Chief Jarod Phelps and other officers.
"I saw somebody who wears this badge, who wears a uniform just like me do what they did," Phelps said about the death of George Floyd, who died after Minneapolis police kneeled on his neck during an arrest May 25. "That’s not what I’m about, that’s not what my department is about."
Phelps said police could and should have done better during Saturday night's protest along Sudley Road, which ended with five arrests, seven officers injured and businesses with smashed windows.
- Related story: Five arrests, seven officers hurt in Manassas protest; local leaders question use of force