In pain and rage, a protester approached police. And then he danced.

“How else do we cry to the grotesque?” – Jo’Artis Ratti

Jo’Artis Ratti is sure he looked intimidating to the police officers who were suddenly confronted by his agitated dancing at a California protest Sunday. “I’m 210 pounds,” said Ratti, 35. “I have tattoos on my neck. I don’t have a passive energy; I’m very enthusiastic. And I know this looks unfamiliar.”

So at the demonstration in Santa Monica, after he’d jabbed the air and flung his arms open, after he’d stomped his feet and thrust his broadly muscled chest forward, unmistakably telegraphing defiance, confidence and strength, Ratti stopped and said to his wary audience in riot gear: “Bro, I’m here for peace.”

The result is one of the most poignant images to come out of the past week of protests over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police — and the story behind Ratti’s dancing, and what followed, is just as poignant. (More on that shortly.)

By Sarah L. Kaufman, Washington Post

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