The officers were promoting the "Hold Cops Accountable" initiative, which is aimed at preventing police abuses

June 04, 2020 07:11 PM
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As thousands of people around the nation gather for protests in the death of George Floyd, a group of police officers in Lincoln, Neb., have gone viral by dancing with local residents to the "Cupid Shuffle" to celebrate a new initiative aimed at improving community-police relations.

The "Hold Cops Accountable" initiative, announced the same day former president Barack Obama challenged city officials nationwide to adopt similar policing reforms, has the goal of creating fairer, more equitable policing policies and preventing abuses and excessive force.

"What happened to George Floyd was wrong," Lincoln Police Department chief Jeff Bliemeister told the Lincoln Journal-Star. "We are not afraid of the accountability; we want the accountability."

The launch of the new program was publicly celebrated with a mass dance to the song Cupid Shuffle, by the artist Cupid. The dance was joined by several Lincoln police officers and community leaders. A video of the dance was taken by Ellis Wiltsey, a reporter with Lincoln's KOLN-TV. The station's anchor, Bill Schammert, tweeted the video, which has gone viral.

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The "Hold Cops Accountable" initiative was in direct response to the killing of Floyd while in police custody.

Last week, a video of Floyd being arrested by Minneapolis police officers went viral on social media.

In the video, officer Derek Chauvin can be seen with his knee firmly placed on the back of Floyd's neck. Floyd was handcuffed and lying on his stomach next to a Minneapolis patrol car. Other officers held Floyd down, with Chauvin placing his weight on Floyd's neck with his left knee.

Floyd can be heard in the video groaning in pain while bystanders plead with Chauvin to let up. Throughout the nine-minute clip, he repeatedly asks for help. He tells the officers that he cannot breathe and says that "everything hurts." The video continued even after Floyd was visibly still. He was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

In the days since the video's release, thousands of people have staged protests throughout Minneapolis and in other cities, some of which have turned destructive.

But the Lincoln Police Department is trying to keep similar events from happening in their city -- and community leaders are reacting favorably to their efforts.

"It's important that the police took the first step," Ishma Yusaf Valenti, a community organizer, told the Journal-Star, "and they're doing that."

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

•Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

•National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.