AUSTIN (KXAN) — One week since civil unrest and protest in Minneapolis erupted into riots and spread across the country, black police officers are struggling — caught between being black and wearing blue.
“I won’t lie, there have been some tears this week,” Austin police officer Alexandra Parker said. “I have spent most of the week feeling torn between my race and badge.”
Parker said she was disgusted by the video of George Floyd’s arrest, which showed Minneapolis Police putting a knee to Floyd’s neck while he struggled to breathe for nearly nine minutes.
“It made me really sad to watch the entire video, and to see someone wearing the same uniform that for me stands for so much treat someone that way,” Parker said, growing emotional.
“That man had his knee on George Floyd’s neck for four minutes before he became lifeless, and he kept his knee on his neck for another two minutes before they slung him on a stretcher.
“There’s no way you make that right.”
Parker hasn’t been able to join any protests. She’s on the other side, called in to work 12-hour shifts with the rest of the Austin Police Department.
She says she’s been hit with baseball-sized rocks, but it’s the protesters’ words that hurt most.
“Things like being called a traitor to my own race and a disgrace to my own race,” she said. “Because the reasons I chose to become a police officer are the total opposite of things that people are saying.”
Parker chose to make a stand on social media, and that’s where she found her voice.
“I am black and I’m a police officer. I am George Floyd,” she wrote.
Her post has been shared more than 300 times.
Parker said she’s blessed to have a strong support system and good family and friends.
“For me it was just about, saying, I’m black and I’m proud, but I did that while I was in uniform because I’m very proud of this uniform, I worked very hard to have it.”
Parker is not alone. Other police officers like Ofc. Jeremy Bohannon are doing something similar. Bohannon hit the streets of downtown Austin Tuesday afternoon to “help facilitate some convos between community and police.”