ONTD Political

NYPD officer photographed giving boots to barefoot homeless man

4:03 pm - 11/29/2012
A photo of a New York City police officer kneeling down to give a barefoot homeless man in Times Square a pair of boots on a cold November night is melting even the iciest New Yorkers' hearts online.

On Nov. 14, NYPD officer Lawrence DePrimo, who was on counterterrorism duty in Times Square, saw the older homeless man without shoes sitting on 42nd Street. DePrimo, 25, left and then returned with a pair of $100 boots he bought at a nearby Skechers store.

"It was freezing out, and you could see the blisters on the man's feet," DePrimo, a three-year veteran of the department who lives with his parents on Long Island, told the New York Times. "I had two pairs of socks, and I was still cold."

The random act of kindness was captured by Jennifer Foster, a tourist from Florence, Ariz., who was visiting the city. Foster, communications director for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office in Arizona, emailed the photo to the NYPD with a note commending DePrimo.

"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,'" Foster wrote. "The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man.

"I have been in law enforcement for 17 years," she continued. "I was never so impressed in my life. ... 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."

Foster's photo was posted on the NYPD's Facebook page on Tuesday, where it received more than 320,000 "likes," 77,000 "shares" and 20,000 comments—most of them praising DePrimo, who seems to have restored Facebook's faith in humanity.

"This is one hell of a police officer," Desiree Wright-Borden wrote.

"Wow," Jack Horton wrote. "It's nice to know there are still good people out there."

"Angels truly do walk on earth!!!" Charlene Hoffman-Pestell wrote.

Some commenters, though, were skeptical, saying the photo could have been staged.

"Clever stunt!" Louis Zehmke wrote. "The hobo is 'parked' at the entrance of a shoe shop."

But Foster claims DePrimo had no idea he was being photographed: "The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching."

sio 29th-Nov-2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
same here!
spyral_path 29th-Nov-2012 11:01 pm (UTC)
Tearing up after reading the part about how the police officer put the socks and shoes on his feet for him.

nicosian 29th-Nov-2012 11:01 pm (UTC)
See, humans? Not difficult to be compassionate!

( though what the eff with Mr Cynical?)
shortsweetcynic 29th-Nov-2012 11:03 pm (UTC)
this was lovely. :)
kitanabychoice 29th-Nov-2012 11:04 pm (UTC)
Ahh, finally, some good news. :')
cozmic_oceanz 29th-Nov-2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
lol I read the title completely wrong at first, thought "photographed" said "photoshopped"...I think all the other news lately has made me cynical..
bushy_brow 30th-Nov-2012 07:05 pm (UTC)
This was me, too, and I was all ready to get my indignant rage on. LOL!
schexyschteve 29th-Nov-2012 11:23 pm (UTC)
That's incredible. It's nice to know there's still some good in the world.
moonbladem 29th-Nov-2012 11:24 pm (UTC)
Fuck, that made me tear up...
roseofjuly 29th-Nov-2012 11:27 pm (UTC)
My boss did something similar a few days ago - there are three homeless men that sleep nearby campus and she bought them blankets and stuff and gave it to them. I also know several other New Yorkers who have done similar things for homeless folks in NYC. So in the office today I was chatting with my coworkers and one of them was like "I feel like they never talk about when ordinary people do stuff like this" and the other was like "It's because the NYPD is so awful." LOL.

But it's really nice that he did this. I feel like New Yorkers are pretty nice during the holidays. In their own gruff New York way.
myrrhmade 29th-Nov-2012 11:33 pm (UTC)
If we could just multiply this now, by 1, ooo, ooo+
kaelstra 29th-Nov-2012 11:38 pm (UTC)
/wipes tear away

I wish everyone were like this a lot more.
ebay313 29th-Nov-2012 11:58 pm (UTC)
Aww. Love seeing that people can still be compassionate.
shhh_its_s3cr3t 30th-Nov-2012 12:05 am (UTC)
I need more of this kind of news. Like DAILY. Humans being kind shouldn't be news and it is so sad that it isn't more commonplace in this world.


otana 30th-Nov-2012 12:14 am (UTC)
This is just wonderful.

Sadly it contrasts with the police treatment of the homeless in our area though; Red, a man we go to see regularly had his possessions (including his blankets) confiscated by the police. They take them so often we stop by to bring him more every couple of months. :/
maenads_dance 30th-Nov-2012 12:26 am (UTC)
I know... I live in an area with a lot of homeless folks (central coast of California) and I have seen explicitly stated the sentiment that it's important to make life uncomfortable enough for the homeless that you don't get "too many" flooding into the area and overwhelming services, taking over parks etc etc.

The sheer scale of human need is baffling. I get asked for money, either explicitly or through people signing at stores and street corners, every day. It is so random whether I give; there have been times when I gave and couldn't afford it, and times when I haven't and I could have... that we wind up making these dramatic, individual gestures of kindness is a great good and a testament to the human capacity for altruism, but also a sad reflection on how desperate the need is and how badly the system is failing.
otana 30th-Nov-2012 12:38 am (UTC)
It really, really is. It breaks my heart to see new faces on the street and as the months go by, see it wearing them down.

We're really low income right now, so we keep loose change in the car and whenever we stop, we give them something, even if it's just 50c. More than anything we learned their names and introduced ourselves and we'll take food over and sit and eat dinner with them when we can. Sometimes the human interaction is as valuable as monetary donations.
nesmith 30th-Nov-2012 12:53 am (UTC)
I have seen explicitly stated the sentiment that it's important to make life uncomfortable enough for the homeless that you don't get "too many" flooding into the area and overwhelming services, taking over parks etc etc.

That's the part that makes me rage and cry at the same time--instead of working on ways to reduce the need, some people would rather make life harder for the homeless so they won't have to see them and be made uncomfortable at the sight of need and suffering.
muizenstaartje 30th-Nov-2012 10:23 am (UTC)
It is so random whether I give; there have been times when I gave and couldn't afford it, and times when I haven't and I could have...

My memory is a bit foggy on this, but I think there’s at least one study on the relation between generosity and wealth. In a really short summary the conclusion was that the less you have the more inclined you are to share with people who also don’t have much. It’s easier to relate to people wanting some help when you would like some help yourself too.
More than once did I give the last bit of change I had when I was low on funds myself and then didn’t feel like giving anything when I had a wallet full of money. Maybe it’s also because helping someone makes you feel good, even if you helped out a little bit with some spare change. When you’re in a bad position yourself and feel bad, you could use some positive energy and that makes you more inclined to help someone than when you’re feeling good.
keeperofthekeys 30th-Nov-2012 02:16 am (UTC)
ikr? Around here they make every effort to make sure homeless people aren't "bothering" people downtown. Someone who ran for mayor here once proposed moving the homeless shelter out of the downtown area so there would be less homeless people there. Like, wtf.

I've also seen cops harass a homeless guy who was just sleeping on a bench, not bothering anyone. They brought THREE cop cars in. Just to be super asshole, I guess? Idk. I wish I could have done something besides making remarks at the cops along with a couple other people who were in the area.
layweed 30th-Nov-2012 02:20 am (UTC)
That's exactly the situation that's going on in Austin right now. The homeless shelters and areas where homeless congregate are basically right next to the bar district and there's a big push to get the shelters and all that moved out of the downtown area so that people won't have to deal with it.

A few months ago they put benches and planter boxes (with power outlets) around the bar district which attracted homeless and loiterers and then businesses got all pissy and petitioned to have the benches removed. =\
otana 30th-Nov-2012 04:19 am (UTC)
What the fuck? Hey, let's hassle the shit out of people in a terrible position and make their lives even worse! What an awesome, compassionate idea!
tothechangmin 30th-Nov-2012 05:10 am (UTC)
omg why do they confiscate his things? the poor man already has too little of them to go by :/
otana 30th-Nov-2012 06:18 am (UTC)
Exactly! He's only got a few possessions, it's total bullshit to take what he DOES have. Thankfully there's a group of about three who hang out together and look out for each other, so they can watch over each other's stuff as much as possible.

This is the same guy who found out we're living penny to penny and tried to give us $100 of his panhandling money. I swear I almost burst into tears.
wrestlingdog 30th-Nov-2012 12:25 am (UTC)
This makes me so happy.

freezer 1st-Dec-2012 01:48 am (UTC)
I think a major part of the reason this is getting so much run is because of the bad rep cops have for being dicks (an attitude seen many many times in this very LJ). I'd like to think this would make the rounds if it were just J. Random Dude caught being generous, even if it would be to a lesser degree.
lil_insanity 30th-Nov-2012 12:53 am (UTC)
Awwwww ;_;
romp 30th-Nov-2012 02:54 am (UTC)
Was this cop on the clock? I'm a tax payer!

Kidding. We need to see people behaving decently on a regular basis. Now if we could only cover everyone's basic needs...
yeats 30th-Nov-2012 02:56 am (UTC)
how sad is it that based on the nypd's usual attitude, i fully clicked on this article believing the title read "NYPD officer photographed giving the boot to barefoot homeless man."
jwaneeta 30th-Nov-2012 03:32 am (UTC)
yeats 30th-Nov-2012 04:01 am (UTC)
meh, it's only the truth. i'm glad that this guy is a good egg, but those very time square cops have sexually harassed me and my friends before, and that's just the tip of the iceberg of fucked up shit i associate with the nypd.

Edited at 2012-11-30 04:30 am (UTC)
ladypolitik 1st-Dec-2012 12:03 am (UTC)
To be honest, I misread the title the same way. It's why it took 24 hours to finally respond, lol. Assuming the story was about mean-spiritedness or even violence, I was like "nope" and skipped to the next entry.
beautyofgrey 30th-Nov-2012 03:24 am (UTC)
Not to be the eternal pessimist, because this individual's actions are completely heartwarming...but I don't think his personal actions really reflect the NYPD's attitude toward the homeless at all. I mean, just two months ago they were brutally beating a homeless man in Brooklyn.


That said, I'll take more of guys like these.
jwaneeta 30th-Nov-2012 03:33 am (UTC)
Jesus reyounew
abiding 30th-Nov-2012 05:59 am (UTC)
Sure did tear up at this, aww.
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