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Black officer responds to viral photo of him assisting man at KKK rally

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The black director of South Carolina public safety agency says he never flinched before helping a white man suffering from the heat at Saturday's Ku Klux Klan rally.

Leroy Smith told The Associated Press on Wednesday he simply saw a man who needed help. A photo showing him assisting the unidentified man wearing a racist T-shirt has gone viral.

Black police officer helps demonstrator at KKK rally

Smith says the man in the photo was the second person he assisted up the Statehouse steps in the 100-degree heat. He says the first man could walk up the steps on his own, but it was clear the man in the photo could not.

So he put his arm around his body and coached him to the top, as tensions between the Klansmen and protesters behind police barricades mounted.

The viral photo was first tweeted out by Rob Godfrey the Deputy Chief of Staff of Communications and External Affairs for S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley. Godfrey's original tweet has now been retweeted over 6,000 times and favorited over 4,000 times.