A picture of a young college student standing with police in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday night has gone viral (video below).
Lynden Steele, director of photography for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, tweeted a picture of Lexi Kozhevsky standing with the cops and the caption: "Lexi, 19, stands to protect cops, 'I would rather get hit by something than let it hit them.'"
The 19 year old, who is a nursing student at St. Louis University, has been cheered and mocked on Twitter, with some users creating derisive memes of her standing with famous movie villains, notes Mediaite.com.
Kozhevsky also stated on a video that was posted on YouTube: "Hello guys, discrimination is a thing and I get it, but we need to stand with the people who protect us and that's what I'm doing."
Kozhevsky told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "I'm Lexi. I'm supporting our police because not all cops are bad and that needs to be realized. So I think we need to show our support for them, they're the people who protect us."
Kozhevsky was asked how she was protecting the police, and responded: "I mean I'm just gonna stand in front of them and if anything comes their way, I would rather it hit me than them because they've already been through a lot and I don't think they deserve that."
In another interview, Kozhevsky told Vice.com
I honestly think people need someone… I think I’m like a figurehead almost. I think a lot of people have the same opinion as I do but are too scared to voice it themselves, so when I did, people caught attention, whether it be negative or positive.
Kozhevsky added that she has not seen the memes mocking her, but said, "I expected the backlash honestly. I knew what I was getting myself into as I stood there."
The teen admitted that she doesn't live in Ferguson, but resides in nearby University City:
Going into Ferguson I couldn’t tell anything was wrong, it looks like a very nice community, a lot of shops. When I got to the main street, I saw Michael Brown spots, it was sad to me for sure. But it’s not as bad as people are making it out to be. It’s just an extreme group of people are giving peaceful protesting a bad name.
Vice.com asked her what the police thought of her standing with them, and Kozhevsky stated:
At first they were like “back up,” and I was like “no” I want to stand here and help you guys. And once the aggression started happening, people putting on bandanas and other things, one officer in particular walked up to me and was like, “Are you sure you want to be a target?” I was like, “I’m positive, I’m standing for what I believe in.”