Newspapers everywhere today were running a story about Larry DePrimo, an NYPD police officer who was captured on a passerby’s cellphone in the kind act of giving a barefooted homeless man warm socks and boots. This photo was posted on Facebook, receiving 420,000 likes and more than 140,000 shares.
I applaud Officer DePrimo. I think he demonstrated great kindness toward the homeless that we don’t often hear about coming from law enforcement. But I was a bit taken aback by how much attention this celebrated officer received. Perhaps I felt this way because I always thought the police had the responsibility to protect people. They are the defenders of justice for the most regular to the most important people. Doesn’t homelessness exist because of injustices and inequalities? If my perceptions are correct, then shouldn’t we be witnessing more Larry-DePrimo-acts naturally anyway? Would a news story be written about a civilian who gave a homeless man socks and boots? I guess we do expect more from our law enforcement.
Social worker thoughts.
Here’s the news story.