Scots police officers in ‘take a knee’ protest

Police in Ayrshire were among those who joined the protest sparked by the police killing of African American George Floyd.

Anti-racism campaigners Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) urged people to 'take the knee' on Wednesday night in a socially-distanced protest in response to the death of Floyd, who died in police custody after a police officer held him down by pressing his knee into his neck.

People in Scotland were asked to kneel at their doorsteps at 6pm in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement - and among those who took part was Ayrshire Police Chief Superintendent Faroque Hussain and fellow officers.

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He tweeted: "Alongside my colleagues in Ayrshire Police we take the knee to show our support and solidarity.

"Racism has no place in society and together we must eradicate it."

The gesture led to mixed reactions on Twitter, with some posters congratulating their actions and others condemning them.

On the negative side, one Twitter user posted: “Ridiculous gesture.”

One user wrote: “Sorry but I just find this embarrassing! Yes, racism is wrong but this latest ‘thing’ won’t solve anything.”

CS Hussain and his colleagues take the knee.

But not everyone was critical of Ayrshire Police’s social media gesture.

One user commented: “Extremely proud of our local police as Chief Superintendent Faroque Hussain leads officers in recognition that #BlackLivesMatter.”

Another wrote: "We in Scotland are proud our police are taking this principled stance."

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Assistant Chief Constable Kenny MacDonald told The Scotsman: “Like many people in Scotland, indeed across the world, I am shocked and distressed about the dreadful death of George Floyd and the subsequent events in the United States.

“Racism in all its forms is disgraceful and unacceptable. Those events do not reflect our style of policing in Scotland and we continue to value the strong bond of trust with all our citizens and communities.

“We are aware of Take The Knee, a global initiative which takes a stand against racism. Officers can take part, if doing so is both operationally appropriate and in keeping with Police Scotland’s core values and high levels of professionalism.”

The Ayrshire Police weren’t the only ones who provoked a reaction for ‘taking the knee’.

The Scottish government's permanent secretary, Leslie Evans, was also mocked for her participation in the protest.

Ms Evans tweeted a picture of herself kneeling outside her home in support of the Black Lives Matter movement - a post that soon invited Twitter's ire as hundreds of users criticised her actions.

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Annie Wells was among those criticising Ms Evans, saying: “There’s nothing wrong with someone like Leslie Evans showing solidarity with important causes.

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“But that gesture would be far more meaningful if her own government’s record in recruiting and promoting ethnic minorities wasn’t so shameful.

“These communities would rather see action than virtue signalling from the SNP.”

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