A picture of a young boy giving a vulgar gesture toward a Springfield cruiser has gone viral.
A local blog claims that a father taught his son to give the middle finger to police officers.
“I would go and rescue that little boy if he was drowning, if he was in a car accident, if he was choking on something, and I would do that and not ask for thanks. And there are 400 other police officers in the city of Springfield that would do the same,” said Sgt. John Delaney with the Springfield Police Department.
Activists say that the type of behavior displayed in this photo can harm their cause. Crowds of people joined together in a peaceful march to the federal courthouse in Springfield.
“I think that just shows bad parenting. That doesn’t represent anybody for the whole race or for our cause,” said Chico Dusty, of Springfield. “Just because we come together in protest, don’t mean that we’re against all police officers, just the ones that abuse their power.”
This all comes after two black men were killed by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota, as well as the mass shooting of police officers in Dallas.
“It’s basically to unify the black community. We’re trying to find answers and solutions to police brutality,” said Michael Gibbs, organizers of the protest.
Police say since the shootings, the community has rallied around the Springfield Police Department.
“Over the last week, we’ve seen an outpouring of support from the public,” said Delaney.