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Fort Worth officer who knelt, was hugged during protest says people 'want to be heard'

"I took it upon myself to go step forward," said FWPD Officer David Yancey, who's been patrolling the protests on bike

FORT WORTH, Texas — For the fourth night in a row, protesters and police filled the streets of downtown Fort Worth Monday. Alongside them for the second day straight was Fort Wort Police bike officer David Yancey.

"If you really listen, you can hear the emotion," he said of the protesters. "There's a lot of people that are very emotional. That's all it is. And you've got a lot of people that are hurt, want to be heard."

And as he listened calmly Monday to the protesters' concerns, their words sunk in, Yancey said.

"I guess after we sat there for a little while, it started to get to me a little bit," he said Tuesday.

Eventually, police and protesters had formed lines and the crowd chanted for police to take a knee with them; those chants resonated with Yancey.

"I took it upon myself to go step forward," Yancey said.

RELATED: Protesters detained after blocking traffic on Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas Monday night

Cameras captured what happened next: protesters ran up and showered Officer Yancey with hugs and handshakes as other officers took knees, too.

"It was scary a little bit, but once I did it, I thought that’s what I was supposed to do," he said. "I took an oath to protect and serve and that’s me giving my service to my people, to my community."

He said at that moment, that was the most rewarding moment in his career.

"I took that knee actually because I understand some of the outcries, I understand some of the concerns," said Yancey, a four-year veteran with the department who formerly worked for the Dallas Police Department.

Similar scenes of law enforcement kneeling, praying with and hugging protesters happened across the country this week.

And while the Fort Worth protest still had tense moments, including some moments of misunderstanding on the part of police, admitted Chief Ed Kraus, Officer Yancey's decision stood out through it all.

"I thought it was pretty awesome," the chief said Monday night. "I think that shows something that's in the heart of a lot of officers and maybe they don't know how to express it."

Videos of Yancey's kneel have been shared thousands of times on social media. Yancey said he didn't expect that, or really any of what followed, but he hopes his actions help bridge the gap between community and police.

"I want us to come together and figure this thing out," he said.

More on WFAA: 

Monday's protests across North Texas see both touching, tense moments with police

In Fort Worth, George Floyd protests also carry a long history of racial tension within city

'We need radical transformation': What happened across Dallas-Fort Worth Sunday, and where it goes from here