The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan held a rally in Columbia, South Carolina to protest the removal of the Confederate flag. African-American protesters attended to oppose the KKK and emotions flared to match the hot, mid-July day. Despite the culture clash, a photo emerged that defied racial bounds and hateful ideology.
The photo shows a black South Carolina police officer helping a pro-white protester whose shirt featured a swastika. The unnamed pro-white protester suffered from a heat stroke on Saturday when temperatures reached a sweltering 98 degrees. Officer Leroy Smith responded and helped the man up the stairs of the statehouse and into the shade. Gov. Nikki Haley’s (R-SC) Chief of Staff, Rob Godfrey, snapped the photo and uploaded it to Twitter.
not an uncommon example of humanity in SC: Leroy Smith helps white supremacist to shelter & water as heat bears down. pic.twitter.com/GoF23r3mRe
— Rob Godfrey (@RobGodfrey) July 18, 2015
The photograph says a lot. Rather than letting the politics of the day prevent him from doing his duty, the officer rises to offer assistance to a man who, if the tables were turned, we may not reasonably assume would do the same. It’s a man setting aside race and helping another human being in need. It’s a police officer doing his duty by serving and protecting a member of the community. It’s refreshing to see a moment like this during a time when there is such a blatant racial divide in America.