A police chief in Massachusetts joined a large crowd of protesters by lying face down on the pavement Saturday amid increased tensions between law enforcement and demonstrators throughout the U.S. following the death of George Floyd.
Urged by the chanting of several hundred people during the Black Lives Matter demonstration, Webster Police Chief Michael Shaw participated and laid face down on the pavement for over eight minutes, as the crowd was heard yelling: "Thank you chief. Thank you chief."
"It's not enough, but it's a start!" one demonstrator also shouted towards the end of the symbolic act, according to the Telegram & Gazette.
Many in the crowd were heard chanting "mama" and "I can't breathe," as they were seen on the ground for eight minutes and 46 seconds, according to the paper. The time signified how long Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer, pinned Floyd to the ground. Shaw was seen lying on the ground with his hands behind his back. He also wore a mask to limit the spread of coronavirus.
"To all my brother and sister officers who were disgusted," Shaw said as he later addressed the crowd during the demonstrations, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. "You know who hates bad cops as much as you all? Good cops ... We can do better."
He added, “your message is heard loud and clear."
Randy Becker, chairman of the Town of Webster Board of Selectmen, later released a statement on Facebook regarding the actions by Shaw.
"I feel the need to speak out on the comments being made about Chief Shaw in response to the post on today’s Black Lives Matter protest. We are beyond blessed to have such a humble, intelligent, and caring man leading our Police Department. For the record, I was at the event today, along with three of our four other Selectmen. It was a deeply moving experience. Yes, I laid down along with almost every other participant in the protest," Becker said.
The decision by Shaw drew both positive and negative responses by users on social media.
Many police officers across the U.S. have also kneeled and prayed in solidarity with protesters -- which they said represents how they are willing to listen to anger and frustration over police brutality.
“Images like these reflect our willingness to listen and work toward solutions,” Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said shortly after officers were seen taking a knee in Arizona.
In Orlando, Orange County Sheriff John Mina explained to Fox News that it was important for him to "listen to and hear the anger and frustration” of demonstrators.
“The two young gentlemen asked us to kneel and we said, ‘Well, why don't we kneel and pray?’” Mina said. “And so we did, and I think that sent a great message not only to the people protesting out there but to our officers and our deputies who were watching their two leaders here in Orange County kneel, take a knee and listen to what the protesters had to say.”
Fox News' Emily DeCiccio and Stephen Sorace contributed to this report