Black Cop Assists KKK Rally Supporter
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The black director of a South Carolina public safety agency says he never flinched before helping a white man suffering from the heat at Saturday's Ku Klux Klan rally.
Leroy Smith told The Associated Press on Wednesday he simply saw a man who needed help. A photo showing him assisting the unidentified man wearing a racist T-shirt has gone viral.
Smith says the man in the photo was the second person he assisted up the Statehouse steps in the 100-degree heat. He says the first man could walk up the steps on his own, but it was clear the man in the photo could not.
So he put his arm around his body and coached him to the top, as tensions between the Klansmen and protesters behind police barricades mounted.
Smith says he hopes the photo will be a catalyst for people to work toward overcoming hate and violence. Smith says the attention shouldn’t be on him. He says the photo captures “who we are in South Carolina” and represents what law enforcement is all about: helping people.