SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Unity has been seen across the nation as law enforcement officers have taken knees and marched with protesters against police brutality...all in the wake of George Floyd.
Western Mass News spoke to the president of the NAACP for the Greater Springfield area.
Springfield's NAACP president Bishop Talbert W. Swan II is happy about all the unity at the march in Springfield and across the nation while commending those officers who are standing up for change.
“I'm hoping that we've turned a page and the paradigm is shifting that people won't sit apathetically by and watch black people suffer and say nothing about it and continue to raise their voices together so that we can change America," Swam explained.
Here in western Mass. the Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper took a knee for protesters and the Holyoke Police Chief Manny Febo marched with them. Swan is calling this empowering.
"For the most part, police have had a long-standing unwritten rule of not violating the blue code of silence," he said. "Of not selling out a fellow police officer and by all means, protecting those that wear blue and to see them march with protesters is invigorating," Swan said.
But he wants to see things go a step further.
"What I'm looking forward to seeing are those who stand up against corrupt police officers. Those who report them. Who insure that those within their ranks are brought to light and held accountable for the things that they do," he said. "Only then will we see the kind of change that we want to see," Swan explained.
But he does have a message for those officers who are taking a vocal stand.
"I know that they face ridicule and they face pressure from their fellow officers when they do things like that because they are viewed as being against the blue code," he said. "So they take a risk when they do that. My message to the citizens would be to support those officers that are bold enough to take that stance," Swan said.
Swan told us beyond officers taking a knee, he’s hoping they can become a change agent within their department after these marches are over.