Protesters form human barricade to protect lone police officer when demonstration turns violent

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A police officer was separated from his squad, and he was protected by a group of protesters when demonstrations became violent.

The officer, who was not identified, was part of the Louisville Metro Police force. He had been trying to get to his cruiser but was unable to do so, WAVE reported.

That’s when Darren Lee Jr. and groups of other men who were taking part in the peaceful protest Thursday night that then changed with an outbreak of violence stepped in.

Lee was getting ready to leave the protest because of the violence when someone in a crowd fired a gun. As he was trying to get home he noticed the stranded officer.

The crowd was moving in on the officer. Lee said the officer appeared nervous, so he joined another man who was blocking the officer from the crowd, WAVE reported.

Chris Williams was also there.

“At first, they were pulling him to response and the officer was outnumbered really bad," Williams told WHAS. "We were like, scoot back bro, and the people were matching with their kind of linked arms all the way around him.”

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the image that’s gone viral since the first day of protests in Louisville also came with a lot of questions.

Posted by WAVE 3 News on Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The men who protected the officer were then targeted by the crowd themselves. They were yelled at, Lee said, with the mob asking, “Why are you guys protecting him?”

Eventually, they were able to get the officer reunited with his squad, WAVE reported.

This wasn’t the only time Williams came to the rescue of someone who could have been targeted by angry protesters.

He told WHAS he also helped a news crew get to safety.