A Hong Kong riot police officer was rebuked by the force after being recorded chanting Black Lives Matter slogans while performing identity checks on protesters in video footage released over the weekend.
The incident occurred while the officer was on duty at an anti-government protest marking the anniversary of the anti-extradition demonstrations which started around a year ago.
In the 20-second clip released by local public broadcaster RTHK, the officer can be seen approaching the camera chanting “black lives matter” and “I can’t breathe.” He was also filmed saying, “Here is not America” before being ushered away from the reporter by a colleague.
These slogans are widely used in protests supporting the global Black Lives Matter movement which started in the United States after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a white police officer Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) urged the police to explain the officer’s behavior as he appeared to mock the international movement.
“We also urge the senior management of the police force to be concerned about the lack of emotional control by front line officers,” the statement read.
In response, a Hong Kong police spokesperson explained that the discipline and integrity of their officers was a great priority of the force and assured the public that they have strict guidelines to regulate behavior and maintain professionalism among their officers.
“Management of the force is concerned as is of the view that the language used by the front line police officer on June 12 was not relevant to his duties at the scene,” said the police spokesperson. “The officer has been rebuked and reprimanded to always present himself professionally and enhance his sensitivity.”
The spokesperson continued to stress that any officer suspected to have breached the force’s discipline guidelines would be subject to investigation under established practices.
However, it was not made clear whether the officer in question had breached the force’s discipline guidelines.
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