By Andrea Morris
The image of a police officer and protester in Nashville praying together has inspired many who are searching for hope during these troubling times.
During a peaceful protest on Saturday in Tennessee, Officer Garren Hoskins saw a demonstrator sharing his Christian faith with the crowd.
“My duty at that time was to hold the line and create a barrier around the central precinct as the peaceful protest continued,” Hoskins said. “There was an individual standing in front of me. He was preaching, holding a sign and he had his mask on.”
“As he was talking, he was quoting Bible verses. I’m personally a Christian and what he was saying is the same things I was raised on and what I believe,” the officer added.
While Officer Hoskins and the gentleman casually exchanged words, the conversation gained a more meaningful tone.
“As he talked, I kind of talked back with him and carried on a casual conversation. There was a brief moment where he stopped and was just standing there. I felt an opportunity as a police officer and a person so I asked him, ‘Would you like to pray?’ He put his sign down, looked at me, and said, ‘Absolutely’.”
Hoskins informed his partners that he was going to pray with the protester. The two men embraced and bowed their heads in prayer.
“He had a great prayer about equal rights – all men treated equal under God, and it was very touching,” Hoskins said.
After they prayed together, both men thanked each other for being kind, professional, and present.
Officer Hoskins said he was unaware that the encounter was photographed and is surprised by all the attention it has received.
“Looking at myself and knowing that it was me there kind of touched me in a way – that’s a really powerful image,” the officer said. “At the same time, that gentleman was such a nice guy. I believe it created a solidarity there between him expressing his freedom of speech and me there as a police officer and that’s something the world needs to see.”
“You can see rioting and looting in all cities across the United States, but I think there are things happening outside of those images that are real and powerful and my image happened to be caught at that time,” he concluded.