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Police officers in New York have been praised after paying for a shoplifter's food instead of arresting her on Independence Day.
The three officers were alerted to an incident at Manhattan Whole Foods, which was witnessed by another customer who took a photo and posted it to social media.
In the image, a woman can be seen holding her head in her hands, while the three uniformed police officers stand with her at the checkout, paying for her food.
Paul Bozymowski, who took the photo, shared it on Twitter.
The tweet was then shared by NYPD chief of department Terence Monahan. He commented that the three men involved were members of the force's strategic response group.
He wrote: "Cops like Lt Sojo and Officers Cuevas and Rivera of the Strategic Response Group are the kind-hearted cops who quietly do good deeds for New Yorkers in need. My thanks to @pboz for highlighting the often unnoticed."
The officers, who have been identified as Lieutenant Louis Sojo and Officers Esnaidy Cuevas and Michael Rivera, held a press conference on Friday and said that they were alerted by security guards that the woman was stealing food. They commented that this sort of thing happens often, but is rarely seen.
"I asked her, 'What's going on?' She told me she was hungry," Mr Sojo said at a press conference. "So, I looked in her bag. I decided - we decided - to say, 'We'll pay for her food.'"
He added: "You know, I've been doing this for 22 years. This is not the first time I've paid for food. This is not the first time they [his colleagues] have paid for someone's food.
"We don't go out and do it all the time, but, you know, when you look at someone's face and you notice that they need you, and they're actually hungry, it's pretty difficult as a human being to walk away from something like that. We weren't raised like that. So, it's the right thing to do."
Many have praised the police for their actions.
I think we can all agree - faith in humanity: restored.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@pboz
Topics: US News
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