Moral Low Ground

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‘The Moral High Ground’: Photo of NYPD Cop Lawrence DePrimo Giving Boots to Homeless Man Goes Viral

NYPD Officer Lawrence DePrimo bought a pair of boots for this homeless man in Times Square. (Photo: Jennifer Foster)

Usually when Moral Low Ground reports on a police officer giving a homeless man boots, it’s because the cop planted them up his ass. Fortunately, that’s not the case today.

A random act of kindness by one New York cop has captured the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people who saw a photo of him giving a pair of boots to a barefoot and freezing homeless man in Times Square.

His name is Lawrence DePrimo. He’s a two-year NYPD veteran who saw a fellow citizen in need and decided to do something constructive about it. So he went into a Skechers store and bought the guy a pair of size 12 all-weather boots.

“It was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet,” DePrimo told the New York Times. “I had two pairs of socks and I was still cold.”

“He was the most polite gentleman I had met,” DePrimo said of the unnamed recipient of the boots, whose face “lit up” at the sight of the foot-saving gift.

“We were just kind of shocked,” store manager Jose Cano told the Times. “Most of us are New Yorkers and we just kind of pass by that kind of thing. Especially in this neighborhood.”

Jennifer Foster, a tourist from Florence, Arizona who was visiting New York with her husband, happened upon the touching scene and snapped a photo with her cell phone camera. Foster, who works for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office as a civilian communications director, forwarded the photo, along with a note, to the NYPD. It said:

“Right when I was about to approach, one of your officers came up behind him. The officer said, ‘I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let’s put them on and take care of you.’ The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man. The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching.

I have been in law enforcement for 17 years. I was never so impressed in my life. I did not get the officer’s name. It is important, I think, for all of us to remember the real reason we are in this line of work. The reminder this officer gave to our profession in his presentation of human kindness has not been lost on myself or any of the Arizona law enforcement officials with whom this story has been shared.”

By Wednesday, Foster’s Facebook post of the photo had been viewed more than 1.6 million times, liked more than 350,000 times and shared more than 100,000 times.

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