According to the Washington Post, Washington D.C. police officers broke up two groups of fighting teenagers Monday afternoon. A few minutes later, a female officer approached the lingering crowd and told the teens to disperse.
That’s when Aaliyah Taylor, a 17-year-old senior at Ballou High School in D.C., walked up to the officer and started playing “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” on her phone and doing the Nae Nae dance.
The officer, according to Taylor, laughed and said she had far better dance moves than that.
Taylor said the officer told the group that if the teens won the dance-off, they could stay. If the officer won, they would have to leave.
What happened from there was a rather impressive dance-off between the police officer and the teen, and an example of positive community policing at a time when national attention is focused on all of the negative interactions between cops and citizens.
The onlooking teens caught the dance battle on their cell phones while a song by rapper Dlow played in the background.
So basically I was trynna get to this girl but the police told me to go home so we made this deal if i win u leave but if u win I step andddddd she step ✌🏽️
Posted by Adore Liyah on Tuesday, October 27, 2015
“Instead of us fighting, she tried to turn it around and make it something fun,” Taylor said. “I never expected cops to be that cool. There are some good cops.”
The two danced for a few minutes face-to-face — stanky leg and all — and Taylor said the officer would have kept going, but she got tired. Both Taylor and the officer declared themselves the victors, hugged, and everyone left the area.
“I mostly hold my head down when I dance, so I didn’t really see her,” Taylor said. “But when I looked at the video after, I was like ‘Oh, she has some moves.’”
When reached by phone, the officer in the video said she did not want to be identified because she didn’t want to make the story about her. “It’s kind of embarrassing that this became so big,” she said. “This is what we do everyday.” The officer has been with the force for about three years and recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq.
Marinos Marinos, the secretary of the D.C. police union, said these sorts of personal interactions between officers and residents aren’t unusual — it’s just that most don’t make it to the Internet.
“We are humans just like everyone else,” Marinos said. “Everyday we come in contact with thousands of citizens and almost all of them have positive outcomes.”
For Taylor, she said the dance-off marked her first positive interaction with police officers in her neighborhood.
She has six sisters and one brother and, according to Taylor, all have been arrested or detained for non-violent offenses like breaking curfew. Taylor, who said she’s never been arrested, says her siblings told her that the officers acted unnecessarily rude and rough during their arrests.
Those experiences, Taylor said, had shaped her perception of police officers. “I thought all cops were cruel because that’s how I saw them,” Taylor said. “I’ve now seen there are good cops out there.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser celebrated the officer’s dance moves on Twitter Wednesday, saying “DC has innovative ways” to keep the city safer and stronger.