Zianna Oliphant was famously seen taking the podium at a North Carolina city council meeting last year, her 9-year-old self barely tall enough to reach the microphone.
The African-American girl was shedding copious tears, her voice breaking, as she told the packed Charlotte auditorium, “I can't stand how we are treated and it's a shame that our fathers and mothers are killed and we can't see them anymore."
Her emotional speech followed the 2016 officer-involved shooting death of Keith Scott and the demonstrations and rioting that followed.
Video of her remarkably sad and articulate plea was seen around the world as an emblem of the deep divide between police and black communities in America.
Now, six months later, Zianna is on the other side of that divide, pretending to be a cop and pulling over a car full of boisterous minority males — who are really police officers with the Gainesville Police Department.
The girl was flown down to Florida this week courtesy of Officer Bobby White, who had met her in New York City while both were participating in a racial unity film sponsored by Microsoft.
White went viral himself last year after he responded to a noise complaint about a group of teens playing basketball and, rather than making them stop, ended up playing with them instead. Dashcam footage of the interaction was an instant hit after his police department shared it online.
White wanted Zianna to see his department’s youth program that pairs officers with young people in a bid to build bridges between minority groups and law enforcement.
On Tuesday, part of that effort entailed Zianna and some African-American boys donning flak jackets to pull over a car full of noisy, antsy males (all of them cops).
Footage shared by White's foundation, the Basketball Cop Foundation, showed her at work.
Zianna had trouble playing her role as a no-nonsense peace officer. She kept dissolving into giggles and big grins as the pretend suspects shouted at each other and kept saying, “I ain’t do nothin’! I ain’t do nothin’!”
Between fits of laughter, Zianna and her fellow “officers” asked to see the men’s driver’s licenses and put them up against the car to search them.
It quickly devolved into chaos, although it was of the comedic kind.
The situation was designed to show the kids what it’s like on the flip side of the criminal justice equation.
And as it seems, they got the point.
Afterward, when the officers asked Zianna what could have made the encounter go smoother, she shot back, “If everyone had just listened to us.”
On its Facebook page, the department wrote: “The answer we were looking for. It’s the whole point of doing that exercise with them.”