(CNN)-A Michigan sheriff joined protesters in Flint Township on Saturday, putting down his weapon and saying, “I want to make this a parade, not a protest.”
Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson spoke with demonstrators who were met by police officers in riot gear, local affiliate WEYI reported.
“The only reason we’re here is to make sure that you got a voice — that’s it,” Swanson said in video clips shown on Twitter.
“These cops love you — that cop over there hugs people,” he said, pointing to an officer.
He was speaking to the crowd protesting police brutality and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
He smiled and high-fived people in the crowd, who responded by chanting, “walk with us!”
So, he did.”Let’s go, let’s go,” Swanson said as he and the cheering crowd proceeded. “Where do you want to walk? We’ll walk all night.”
Flint has drawn national attention for its water crisis, which began in 2014, when city and state officials switched the city’s water supply to save money. It exposed residents to dangerously high levels of lead and resulted in more than a dozen lawsuits.