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Police Officers Pay Tribute To Kaepernick By Taking The Knee, Then Get Bad News

Note: we are republishing this story amid record high levels of political division in America. According to Pew surveys, the US ranks among the highest in the world according to how many people feel more divided than before the pandemic. More on this here: https://www.latimes.com/politics/newsletter/2021-10-15/us-most-divided-nation-in-worldwide-survey-essential-politics

Two African-American police officers in Chicago are facing disciplinary action after they were photographed taking a knee and holding their fists in the air.

Activist Aleta Clark, who posed in the middle, posted the photo on Instagram with the caption: "That moment when you walk into the police station and ask the men of color are they against police brutality and racism, and they say 'yes.'"

Clark said the police officers also kneeled in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, NBC News reports.

After the picture caught the attention of the Chicago police department, the officers found themselves in trouble.

According to the department's spokesman, policy forbids uniformed officers from making political statements.

"We are aware of the photo, and we will address it in the same way we have handled previous incidents in which officers have made political statements while in uniform, with a reprimand and a reminder of department policies," the department said in a statement.

After learning of the punishment, Clark was quick to defend the police officers.

"This is my message to those officers -- I stand behind you," she said. "You showed us that even with a shield, even working for the police department, that you are still human and that you still recognize that racism still exists and that police brutality is real. And you stood against that."

"Don't be Afraid to be Controversial," she added in a another post. "I will stand behind them! Go Bother the killers of Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Tamar Rice, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile and the list goes on and on.. these men did a Noble thing! They let me know that even in uniform they're against Police Brutality & Racism! They took a Kneel for Us when nobody else would that looked like them!"

The photo has since been spread widely and has provoked controversy.

Some were outraged and stood with the police department.

"Makes me sick to see such disrespect for this great country!!" commented one user under the Instagram picture. "I hope these officers get fired!!"

"What they do on their own time out of uniform is up to them however, while the uniform is on, what they do is not all up to them," wrote a second. "If you don't like the rules of the job then leave."

Others praised the police officers for kneeling.

"Hope they consider the reprimand a badge of honor," said one. "Much Respect my brothers. This photo is up there with John Carlos and Tommie Smith."

"Support and prayers out there for the officers being reprimanded for speakin," wrote another.

Sources: NBC News, Aleta Clark/Instagram (2)

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