Sunday, July 3, 2022

Black SC State Trooper Reveals Reason for Helping White Supremacist

Leroy Smith
South Carolina State Trooper Leroy Smith

*As South Carolina and the rest of the nation struggles with longstanding race issues that have recently resurfaced on the public radar, something unlikely happened in the state where the Confederate flag was taken down.

A black South Carolina state trooper came to the aid of a protesting white supremacist in need of some relief from the heat. Although the action, captured in a photo by Rob Godfrey, a deputy chief of staff to SC Governor Nikki Haley,  went viral after it was posted on Twitter and raised more than a few eyebrows, the trooper saw it as nothing more than a normal day at work doing his job. To sum up the reaction to the picture, Leroy Smith has just one word for you.

“I think that’s the greatest thing in the world — love,” the South Carolina Department of Public Safety director told The New York Times. “And that’s why so many people were moved by it.”

Smith’s encounter with the white supremacist came just eight days after the flag was removed from the South Carolina state house grounds in Columbia after the deaths of nine worshippers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Smith was on duty that day as a group known as the Black Educators for Justice were rallying on the north side of the State House in the early afternoon. On the south side demonstrating was the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which arrived a couple of hours after the Black Educators started their rally.

“You could kind of feel the tension in the air,” Smith said as he remembered the vibe of the day with the two groups and his “advance civil emergency response team” being on hand for the few dozen marching demonstrators from the west. The Times noted that many of the demonstrators wore black shirts representing the neo-Nazi organization called the National Socialist Movement.

Waving their Confederate flags, the demonstrators entered the State House pen while going back and forth with hecklers with saying, “White power!” and “Wooo!” as the drama commenced. It wasn’t until a demonstrator put him on to an “an older man” who was “all but melting on a bottom step” that Smith became aware of the man he would ultimately help.

leroy smith, black SC state trooper who helped white supremacist“He looked fatigued, lethargic — weak,” Smith shared with the Times. “I knew there was something very wrong with him.”

From there, Smith sought assistance from the fire chief in Columbia, Aubrey Jenkins, as he wrapped his left arm around the man’s back and put his right hand on the man’s right arm, while slowly and steadily walking the demonstrator up as many as 40 steps. Through it all, Smith encouraged the main, saying, “We’re going to make it. Just keep on going.”

Trailing Smith and the man was a female demonstrator who kept asking the former Navy man whether her fellow demonstrator was going to be all right.

Although they didn’t talk much, the older demonstrator confessed that wasn’t from around here, according to the Times, which added that the “a spokesman for the National Socialist Movement declined to identify him, other than to say he is a senior citizen who doesn’t need people knocking at his door.”

For more of the Times’ story on Smith, click here.



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