The past two weeks have seen the country reckoning with the death of George Floyd. In response to the police interaction that led to his death, protests have broken out worldwide, sometimes turning violent. However, footage from a protest in Elgin, Illinois is going viral this week for showing a friendly, peaceful dance-off between a police officer and cheering protesters.
Footage of the dance-off, which was shared online by multiple attendees, shows an unnamed protester dancing for a crowd of demonstrators and police officers. After showing off some impressive moves, that dancer pretends to draw a line in front of the police, signalling a challenge.
Police officer Hector Gutierrez couldn’t resist.
“I have it in my blood, and I felt [the music], and I’m like, this is good, I love it,” Gutierrez said, according to the Daily Herald. “I was having a good time. I love the people, the environment. I was like, this is a time for me to see if I still got it.”
Handing off his gear and equipment to another officer, Gutierrez accepted the dance challenge, laying down some smooth moves of his own and pumping up the crowd of demonstrators.
“We were just all having fun and then that moment happened,” said protester Belinda Vega, who shared a video of the moment to Facebook. “Everything was just so aligned. It wasn’t premeditated or anything along those lines.”
Gutierrez, 36, who did some dancing during his high school days, worried most about how he would hold up physically after being out of practice.
“To be honest with you, I was more worried about not getting hurt,” he said. “My knees were killing me, my back. But you know what? The adrenaline rush, I was feeling the vibe of the people, the community.”
Videos of the dance-off have made a big impact online at a time when relations between police and citizens are under heavy scrutiny. Vega says the positive feedback she’s received from her post has gone far to lift her spirits.
“Someone even made a comment, which really touched me — I’m in tears right now,” Vega said. “And that was so powerful because she expressed that she was in tears because she was seeing something positive.”
Meanwhile, Gutierrez said he’s also received positive feedback, including from his fellow officers.
“They loved it,” Gutierrez said. “They said it was a good job and perfect timing as well.”
He added that his own spirits have been lifted by the positive reactions to the videos.
“I feel like I accomplished something,” he said. “I feel like I’m involved with the community, and that’s where I want to be.”