Photo Reuters Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters
At the time of this writing, the full story surrounding this specific woman and situation is not available - while protesting the deaths of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and others - she refused to get off the street in front of the Baton Rouge Police Department.
In these two photographs taken at the same instant from different angles, we can see the police are advancing toward the woman. Presumably she was then escorted or maybe carried off the street with or without hand cuffs - and arrested.
From a body language perspective, these images give us insight into several key thought-emotions transpiring in this moment.
In her right hand is her phone - however it's difficult to tell what's in her left hand, perhaps some paper from which she had just read something aloud. Her hand/arm position is somewhat beta - although not dramatically so. To nuance this further - if her hand(s) and arm(s) were moving away from her body then this would have been crescendoing towards alpha, and if they were moving toward her torso, she would have been becoming more beta. The dynamics would be of course much easier to "read" if we had some simultaneous accompanying video.
The police no doubt are, to a degree, practicing protocol. Yet this scenario seems somewhat over cautious on their part. Perhaps the officers think she has a weapon or some device in her hand. The officer more distant to the camera appears to be about to grab her left wrist.
Note the position of her lower extremities. Both her feet are flat on the ground facing forward - and both are also slightly splayed. This leg/foot position is one of strength. Despite the fact that she is dramatically over-powered - this woman is, in large measure, the alpha personality in this moment.
The officers are two and she is one (not to mention the mass of many cops behind them). They are armed - she is not (most probably). They have full riot gear - military style protection. She has on a sleeveless and backless sundress. They have steel-toed boots - while she has on flimsy flats.
The police are obeying orders - however they are also conducting themselves in a manner which, while protecting them, also lends itself toward escalating the tension (particularly for other protestors watching). Their crouching and approaching body configuration implies both caution and aggression.
Note the woman's overall posture. This is seen most accurately via the perfect lateral perspective shown above. From the top of her head down her back, legs and feet - she is simply straight. Again - this is very alpha - signaling her strength, determination and defiance.
Photo credit: Max Becherer/AP
Photo Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters
Although some detail is not possible due to the angle, glasses and the face shields - in this close up of the first image we can also see that the woman's face is relatively neutral (non-aggression). The officer furthest away is displaying a jaw jut - indicating anger and/or significant physical exertion (thus a high adrenaline state).
Addendum: The woman in this photo has been identified as Ieshia Evans.
This website serves as an objective reference source for the science and art of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc., are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts – not to advance any political, religious or other agenda.
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