Colin Kaepernick, whose national anthem protests during the 2016 football season were spurred by what he views as police brutality against minorities, received support from an unlikely group on Saturday: dozens of New York City police officers, who rallied in Brooklyn to protest Kaepernick’s continued NFL unemployment. Among them was Frank Serpico, the former NYPD officer whose campaign against police corruption was the subject of the enduring 1973 film, “Serpico,” starring Al Pacino in the title role.
The group of around 75 wore T-shirts that read, “#imwithkap,” though City Council member Jumaane Williams wore a Kaepernick jersey. At the end of the rally, they raised their fist and took a knee, much as Kaepernick did during the national anthem during the 2016 NFL season.
“He’s trying to hold up this government up to our Founding Fathers,” Serpico, now 81, told the Associated Press, adding that he wasn’t all that much of a football fan but felt moved to support the former San Franciso 49ers quarterback.
“I am here to support anyone who has the courage to stand up against injustice and oppression anywhere in this country and the world,” he said.
Said NYPD Sgt. Edwin Raymond, who helped organize the event, according to the New York Daily News: “What Colin Kaepernick did is try to bring awareness that this nation unfortunately has ignored for far too long. And that’s the issue of racism in America and policing in America. We decided to gather here today because of the way he’s being railroaded for speaking the obvious truth.”
Serpico retired in 1972, one year after he was shot in the face during a drug arrest because, he maintains, his fellow officers failed to provide adequate backup, perhaps as payback for his whistleblowing ways. Since then, he has continued to speak out about police brutality and corruption.
Kaepernick, who opted out of his 49ers contract after last season, remains unsigned.