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Video involving Denzel Washington and police goes viral after George Floyd's death

Charles Trepany
USA TODAY
The News Herald

A video involving Denzel Washington, an individual and police officers has gone viral on social media following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota on Monday.

Posted to Twitter on Thursday by former NBA player Rex Chapman, the video shows Washington wearing a face mask as he speaks to a black man and two police officers. The footage then cuts to show Washington holding a pack of face masks as officers put the man's hands behind his back.

In another Twitter video posted by user @MoPhoPix, a police officer provides more details on the situation, which have been confirmed to USA TODAY by a representative for Washington.

According to the officer, Washington was driving when he spotted the man in the road. Worried for the man's safety, the actor pulled over and helped him to the side of the street. A different person who recognized the actor while driving by the incident called the police.

"We intervened, spoke with the individual and determined that he did not want to harm himself or others, and he was on his way, and Denzel left," the officer continues. "Denzel provided him a mask to protect himself from the environment and that was good. So Denzel helped us today."

The officer added that Washington put extra masks in the man's pockets and that the actor is a "very good Samaritan."

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department declined to comment further on the incident, which occurred in Los Angeles on May 21.

As of Thursday, the video has been viewed over 2 million times, with many praising the actor for involving himself in the situation and keeping it from escalating.

"I saw Denzel Washington trending and got scared, but it was ONLY because he's out there being a hero, saving a life while WEARING HIS DAMN MASK," wrote @mmpadellan on Twitter. "MY man!"

"Denzel Washington has been my favorite actor for a while now," wrote @WesKCrochet. "What he did for that homeless man just reinforced that."

Many are also contrasting the incident with what happened to Floyd. Video on Facebook Monday showed Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck while Floyd said he couldn't breathe. Floyd, 46, was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, according to police.

"DenzelWashington Did what anybody should do in that kind of situation I would’ve like to know that the people recording #GeorgeFloyd or Those surrounding him could’ve felt safe enough to do the same," wrote @BryonnaJones.

"Can Denzel Washington go to Minnesota and teach a class?" wrote @joshuafett75.

"After what happened to George Floyd, this helped take the edge off," wrote @GreyFrost. "Thank you Denzel Washington."