On 12 August 2017, just after the occurrence of violent and tragic events at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, left multiple people dead, an image was widely circulated via social media seemingly showing a black police officer calmly standing guard to protect a group of racist protesters carrying Confederate flags, wearing Ku Klux Klan garb, and issuing Nazi salutes:
Although this photograph may be genuine, it was not — as was widely assumed (or stated) in social media posts — a picture snapped at the 12 August 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. The image had been posted online well over a month earlier, as shown in this 9 July 2017 tweet from Tucson, Arizona, police chief Chris Magnus:
A few days later, Frank Somerville of Oakland television station KTVU wrote of the latter posting that:
Kimberly’s post went viral.
But there were also a number of really nasty comments.
And Kimberly later posted this in response:
“On Monday I saw a photo from the KKK rally that moved me and I posted it. Now it has gone viral and mean, angry people are coming out of the woodwork.
I do not care about the rude comments towards me but I am becoming quite irritated at the attacks on our local police officer.
He is getting attacked for being an African American police officer who was protecting the free speech rights of the klan and I am getting accused of being a supporter of racism because my sister is a police officer.
It must be a horrible way to live to be so defensive and angry all the time.I hope these people can find some happiness and peace at some point in their lives.”I’m dumbfounded that anyone could criticize this officer and what he’s doing.
Thank you Officer Nash for your service.
And thank you Kimberly Payne Hawk for posting this.