(CBSLA.com) — Video of a Washington, D.C. police officer having a dance-off with a teen girl is going viral – and many are commending the exchange as a paradigm of positive community policing.
The Facebook video has been shared more than 10,000 times and is among the top trending stories in Southern California.
Police had reportedly just broken up a fight between two groups of teens. Some kids still lingered at the scene and this officer was trying to get them to disperse.
The Washington Post reports 17-year-old Aaliyah Taylor walked up to the officer and started playing “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” on her phone and dancing.
That alleged moment could have been interpreted as an act of defiance, but the officer took it in a different direction and it ended up being a great call.
The officer and Iraq veteran told the girl she had much better dance moves.
A deal was made that if Taylor won the dance-off, she and the teens could stay. If the officer won, the group would have to leave.
In the end, they called a tie and the group dispersed, leaving them with what Taylor called a better impression of police officers.
“Instead of us fighting, she tried to turn it around and make it something fun,” Taylor told The Post, saying most of her family’s past interactions with police haven’t been positive. “I never expected cops to be that cool. There are some good cops.”
Several fatal police shootings in the Los Angeles area recently have come under scrutiny by activists and strained ties with residents. This D.C. officer’s experience could add to the dialogue on how officers could better diffuse tense situations and other ways they could build trust with the community.