Sheriff Chris Swanson Featured on ‘Today’
Flint is definitely making national news right now, but it's for all the right reasons.
After making headlines for bringing together law enforcement and protesters during a march Saturday night, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson appeared on the TODAY Monday morning to talk about Flint making history during such a time of unrest.
Swanson spoke with Craig Melvin on TODAY about how he came to embrace removing his helmet and putting down his baton to speak candidly and openly with the protesters wanting their voices to be heard. Swanson joined his community along with other officers and walked in peace and solidarity during the protest this past weekend in Flint Township.
Swanson told TODAY "It was a spontaneous decision, and I'll tell you with all the police agencies there, Flint Township being the lead for the area, it made the most sense that when I saw the crowd and felt the frustration and the fact that we were only accelerating the issue, it was time to take the helmet off, go to the shot caller, the lead organizer, give him a big old fat hug and say, 'What do we need to do?'
During a live video feed that was aired across social media Saturday, Swanson was heard telling the crowd that the cops "love you' and that he wanted to help them and listen to them. The pivotal moment came when the Sheriff asked the community members what they wanted him to do. "Walk with us" was the response to which Swanson's reply, that made history, was "Let's walk".
"The second that turn of events happened when I said, 'Let's walk,' you saw an entire crowd's mindset and heart change because they wanted to be heard," Swanson told TODAY. "They were as much a part of that night making history in Flint than anybody else. Now we're day two, no arrests, no fires, no injuries."
Sunday evening, officers in Flint were seen handing out food and water to protesters from the community. Again, those that gathered did so peacefully with a purpose.