Tags: officer leroy smith | black | police | white | supremacist

Officer LeRoy Smith: Black Cop Photographed Helping KKK White Supremacist

Image: Officer LeRoy Smith: Black Cop Photographed Helping KKK White Supremacist
In this photo provided by Rob Godfrey, police officer Leroy Smith, left, helps a man wearing National Socialist Movement attire up the stairs during a rally Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Columbia, South Carolina. (Rob Godfrey via AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 21 Jul 2015 11:06 AM

A photo of Officer Leroy Smith, the black director of South Carolina’s Department of Public Safety, aiding a heat stricken white supremacist at a rally outside the State House grounds this week went viral on social media as it generated a positive reaction during continued heightened racial tensions in the U.S.

In the photo, Smith can be seen guiding an unidentified white man, who is wearing a racist T-shirt with a swastika on it, to shade at the top of the State House steps after the man began suffering from heat exhaustion, according to The Associated Press.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s deputy chief of staff, Rob Godfrey, snapped the photo during the rally — in which protestors condemned the state’s removal of the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds — and posted it on Twitter, according to CNN.



Smith helped the man find shelter and water as temperatures climbed high into the 90s during the rally, which drew an estimated 2,000 people, according to CNN.

“He was assisting with crowd control on the stairs where the KKK was rallying,” said spokeswoman Sherri Iacobelli, according to CNN. “He had observed that the person appeared to be feeling ill from the heat and needed assistance. He was helping get him up the stairs the statehouse so that he could receive emergency medical care.”

In a statement issued by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety
on Monday, Smith expressed his surprise at the overwhelming attention and responses that his simple act of kindness has garnered around the world.

“Even though I serve as the director of this agency, I consider myself like every other officer who was out there braving the heat on Saturday to preserve and protect. The photo that was captured just happened to be of me,” Smith said in the statement.

“Our men and women in uniform are on the front lines every day helping people — regardless of the person’s skin color, nationality or beliefs. As law enforcement officers, service is at the heart of what we do. I believe this photo captures who we are in South Carolina and represents what law enforcement is all about. I am proud to serve this great State, and I hope this photo will be a catalyst for people to work to overcome some of the hatred and violence we have seen in our country in recent weeks.”

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A photo of Officer Leroy Smith, the black director of South Carolina’s Department of Public Safety, aiding a heat stricken white supremacist at a rally outside the State House grounds this week went viral on social media.
officer leroy smith, black, police, white, supremacist
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2015-06-21
Tuesday, 21 Jul 2015 11:06 AM
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