US cop lauded over Nae Nae dance-off

WASHINGTON • On Monday, while the American public was captivated by footage of a teenager being flipped over her desk and dragged across the classroom, another video was going viral too.

In it, a teen appears to challenge a police officer to a dance-off. The officer accepts and they dance for nearly a minute.

Both girls are black, both officers white. Both teenagers reportedly defied police orders. Beyond that, the similarities fade.

After the student in the first video reportedly refused to put away her phone in class, South Carolina officer Ben Fields grabbed her in a violent response that cost him his job.

In Washington DC, when police broke up a group of fighting teenagers and asked the kids to clear out of the area, one teenage girl approached a female officer while playing the hit song "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" on her phone and doing her version of the signature shoulder-swaying dance.

The officer, in bulky body armour and boots, also showed off her own dance moves.

By the time it was over - both sides reportedly claimed victory - the tension had lifted, according to the Washington Post.

On Thursday, President Barack Obama singled out the dance-off as a model for police looking to build relationships with neighbourhoods - a pressing issue as outrage at police brutality has grown in the past year.

"Who knew community policing could involve the Nae Nae? Great example of police having fun while keeping us safe," he tweeted under the handle @POTUS.

Washington police chief Cathy Lanier also tweeted: "Engaging with residents thru dance is part of our dedicated community policing effort in the nation's capital."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2015, with the headline 'US cop lauded over Nae Nae dance-off'. Print Edition | Subscribe