The Herald reports:
The black director of South Carolina’s public safety agency said he was surprised a photo showing him helping a white man wearing a racist T-shirt went viral. But now that it has, he is hoping it will be a catalyst for people to work toward overcoming hate and violence.
Leroy Smith said in a statement that the photo, taken at a Ku Klux Klan rally, captured “who we are in South Carolina” and represents what law enforcement is all about: helping people “regardless of the person’s skin colour, nationality or beliefs.”
“I consider myself like every other officer who was out there braving the heat on Saturday to preserve and protect,” he said.
The photo, taken by Gov. Nikki Haley’s spokesman, shows Smith leading the unidentified man, who is suffering from the heat, to shade at the top of the Statehouse steps, to be treated by local emergency workers. The man has a swastika on his T-shirt.
The photo shows just the hand of black Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins, who also was assisting the man.
“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,” Smith said.
There’s times when our faith in humanity is justified. A black police officer helping a member of the KKK, because he needed assistance. Hopefully the KKK member concerned, and some of his colleagues, might reflect on the dignity and decency of Leroy Smith.