Published: 08:56, 09 June 2020
| Updated: 17:28, 10 June 2020
Kent Police have defended their chief constable's decision to 'take the knee' during a Black Lives Matter event.
The American died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis last month.
However, the chief constable's decision to take the knee has caused outrage among many people, with some calling for him to quit.
One Twitter user, Nick Scott, replied to a picture of the gesture, saying: "As a retired Kent Police officer I’m ashamed by the actions of this current chief constable."
Another former officer named Andy Capp said: "I’m now embarrassed that I was a police officer for 30 years. The shame that this brings upon the police service should not be under-estimated."
One woman labelled it "disgraceful".
"Taking the knee is an act of humility and officers are supported in doing this where appropriate and safe to do so..."
Kent Police hit back at criticism, saying they stood by those horrified by Mr Floyd's death.
Deputy Chief Officer Ian Drysdale said: "We understand the depth of feeling from people around the world following the abhorrent death of George Floyd in America.
"We stand beside those who are horrified by the manner in which he died and it is important that accountability and justice follow.
"Our officers have spent years building lasting relationships with our diverse communities and it is only natural they should want to show their respects.
"We all lead by example and treat everybody with fairness, respect and dignity, irrespective of who they are.
"Taking the knee is an act of humility and officers are supported in doing this where appropriate and safe to do so, without compromising on the service we provide to the public.
"Kent Police has been making contact with various diverse communities which make up the county, to provide reassurance and listen to their concerns following the protests in the wake of this tragic death.
"It is vital we maintain the trust and confidence that we believe our communities in Kent have in us as a police force.
"As part of that reassurance and in line with duties and key responsibilities as essential workers, the chief constable and other officers have attended some events in person.
"During attendance, social distancing measures have been adhered to wherever possible, and where those measures have not been possible, health and hygiene precautions have been taken."