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Illinois police officers join unexpected dance battle with peaceful demonstrators

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11:48 | 09/06/2020

With no baton or tear gas recently seen used to contain protesters in the US, Elgin police officer Hector Gutierrez in Illinois State has a dance-off with protesters at a peaceful demonstration last weekend that stirred eagerness among the crowds.

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Daily Herald reported that the 36-year-old Gutierrez was watching the protest on a Facebook Live video, heard the music playing, and decided to join in. At least a few videos of Gutierrez engaging protesters in a dance-off are going viral.

"I have it in my blood, and I felt it, and I'm like, this is good, I love it," Gutierrez said. "I was having a good time. I love the people, the environment. I was like, this is a time for me to see if I still got it."

Gutierrez said he used to dance as a student at Bartlett High School.

illinois police officers join unexpected dance battle with peaceful demonstrators
Elgin police officer Hector Gutierrez break dances at the Elgin In Solidarity With Black Lives Matter rally Friday night in front of Elgin City Hall. courtesy of Picasso Cerrado.

"To be honest with you, I was more worried about not getting hurt," Gutierrez said. "My knees were killing me, my back. But you know what? The adrenaline rush, I was feeling the vibe of the people, the community."

"We were just all having fun and then that moment happened," added protester Belinda Vega, who filmed one of the videos on her cellphone. "Everything was just so aligned. It wasn't premeditated or anything along those lines."

The videos show Gutierrez and Cmdr. Eric Echevarria in a circle with demonstrators watching a young man dance. The dancer walks up to the officers and mimics marking a line in front of them with his foot as if to dare them to cross it.

Gutierrez turns to Echevarria and hands him his equipment vest and holster, keeping his mask on as the crowd cheers. He holds up a finger and says, "One city," then walks to the center of the circle and starts dancing.

Gutierrez said he expected to get a little razzing from his fellow officers. Instead, he got praise and requests to teach them how to dance.

"They loved it. They said that it was a good job and perfect timing as well," Gutierrez said.

Vega said the reaction to the videos has given her a good feeling as well.

"Someone even made a comment, which really touched me -- I'm in tears right now. And that was so powerful because she expressed that she was in tears because she was seeing something positive," Vega said.

Gutierrez has had similar feedback from relatives.

"I feel like I accomplished something," Gutierrez said. "I feel like I'm involved with the community, and that's where I want to be."

On Facebook, the video has gone viral and received huge lauds as the positive energy it spreads to people.

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