He says he was trying to persuade protesters from walking on to I-70.
Frederick, Md (KM) Frederick Police Officer Bill Folden took a knee with another protester during a “Black Lives Matter” demonstration on Saturday. Speaking on WFMD’s “Morning News Express” recently, Folden said he was trying to persuade a young man that he and his fellow protesters should not go on to Interstate 70 because it was too dangerous.
“When he offered the knee, I’m not going to take a knee. I can’t take a knee,” he said. “But then ‘I’ll take a knee with you but you need to help me and all these people that are following you and you need to lead these people away from this bad situation.’ It was like all it was needing was a spark, and it would have just been a bad situation for all involved.”
The incident occurred along East Street near Monocacy Boulevard where protesters wanted to go out on I-70, and Folden says there were law enforcement officers who were not going to let that happen. . “Let’s be honest. They were not going to be allowed on 70. It just not safe. It was getting dusk. But when you’re looking at phalanx of law enforcement across the road who were justified in their position–make no mistake–we were only doing it for the safety of others in the community, I can only tell in a very short window of time I had a flood of emotions in what I was seeing,”: he said.
He said things were escalating and there was a lot of shouting
“I looked at my lieutenant and I was like ‘can I go up and talk to them? I know them. I trust them,'” he said. Then the lieutenant said “Are you sure?’ And I’m ‘yes sir.’ ‘If you think it will help, go ahead,'” the lieutenant responded.
So he walked up to the crowd. “Stepped in between the guys and we sat there and talked. I spoke to him about being the change he wanted to see. That they weren’t going to be allowed on I-70 and it was in violation of the law because the city has chosen to allow them to take a stance to allow them to express their 1st Amendment rights and walk on the streets and assemble this way. It could have been revoked at any time,” he says.
The situation was defused.
On Friday, some protesters entered I-70 between Routes 340 and 85 and disrupted traffic. But police were able to clear the highway.
“it;’s always been my design to humanize the badge,” says Folden. “I don’t want people thinking there’s a sterile guy with a badge on his chest and gun on his hip, and I can’t talk to that guy. I want younger people to be able to come up and talk to us. And I’ve been able to establish some of these rapports.”
By Kevin McManus