Police Protest Supercut Videos Go Viral

An officer shoving a protester to the ground. Two New York Police Department cars ramming demonstrators. Police using batons, bicycles and car doors as weapons.

These are becoming defining images of the protests against police brutality of black people that have swept the nation, sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Countless videos of these moments have been shared on social media. Among the most-seen of them: a compilation video created on Saturday.

Jordan Uhl, a political consultant and activist in Washington, D.C., wanted to make sure as many people saw these videos as possible. Encouraged by a friend, he edited together 14 clips, including one from a reporter at The New York Times of an officer accelerating and opening a car door that hit protesters. The result is a two-minute, 13-second supercut that he called “This Is a Police State.”

As of Monday night, the video had amassed more than 45 million views from Mr. Uhl’s tweet alone. After he posted a Dropbox link so that anyone could download and share the video, it garnered tens of millions more views. (For context, the video that the birder Christian Cooper recorded of Amy Cooper in Central Park has been viewed 44 million times on Twitter. The viral disinformation video “Plandemic,” which traveled across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram last month, was viewed more than eight million times after just over a week online.)

“So many people were posting it to IGTV and Stories and tagging me,” Mr. Uhl, 32, said. “I can’t even keep track of how many people are sharing it.”

He said his intention was to signal-boost the experiences of the protesters and said he made limited intervention in the footage. “I trimmed some of the videos down for time,” Mr. Uhl said, adding that he “didn’t even color correct.” He did, however, add the Twitter handles of the original posters, for credit.

“People are deeply unwilling to acknowledge the abuse from police,” he continued, noting that “the passive language used for police versus the active language used for protesters demonstrate our society’s unwillingness to confront systemic injustice imposed by police.”

Those whose footage appears in the compilation video said they were glad to see their individual clips put into broader context.

Alison Sul, a 21-year-old protester in Texas, said that her video had already been viewed 2.9 million times, but Mr. Uhl’s video provided a new audience.

“The more people who see this stuff, the more accountable the police are going to have to be,” said Nate Igor Smith, 40, a photographer in Brooklyn.

“It doesn’t seem to matter which city you’re in, you’re seeing a lot of the same things happening. I think having one video where you can see things from so many different cities is powerful,” said Arlen Parsa, 33, a documentary filmmaker in Chicago. “It tells a larger story than just what’s happening in one city.”

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