NY newspapers follow story of cop, boots and barefoot man

(Updated Monday morning with NYT interview of the homeless man.)

Some stories break. Others, as legendary editor Gene Roberts famously observed, ooze. The story of a New York City police officer’s kindness to a homeless man broke last week, went viral on social media and attracted widespread coverage from the established media. It began oozing on Friday.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=749911534 facebook-749911534
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=749911534 facebook-749911534

    Thanks please delete all my comments below

  • http://lolcomicstar.blogspot.com/ Pragmatism
  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    sloppy comment monitoring. sheesh, i am trying to further the story and you erase all my 2 hours of work uploading important reddit comments. It’s just empty space and bandwidth, it does not hurt in some cases to let many comments stick. at least for a day or two. It’s not like i was taking up any one else’s space. it’s mere blank ethersphere vaporshere inernet ink. SHEESH

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    if possible please send me the 27 comments i uploaded here for bill M to see, adn then delte the,??? i spent 2 hours

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    8yrcombatvet writes

    ”I can’t believe I am the only one who thinks it is fishy that a sherrif’s employee happens to be there take a picture of this “random” act of kindness. She then goes on in the video to say how this happens in the valley all the time, sounds more like PR rehabilitation attempt than any act of kindness. ”

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    Jennifer Foster, a Florence, AZ, tourist, posted a photograph of the officer giving a homeless man a pair of boots and socks on a frigid night in Times Square on Nov. 17.

    ***The homeless man said he’d never had a pair of shoes.*** NEVER HAD A PAIR OF SHOES and the bare naked shoeless media is printing that crap?

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    NEXT step Journalism needs to find Ms Jennie Foster in Arizona and ask her exactly what she was doing that week in NYC, tourism or business trip, and speak honestly about what she was doing in NYC.

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    On Sunday, Mr. Hillman was spotted by Jamie Seerman and her sister Samantha near 79th Street and Broadway as they were shopping for a Christmas tree.

    As he was being interviewed, several people noticed him.

    “What happened to the boots?” one man asked.

    J. David Goodman contributed reporting.

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    Since Mr. Hillman’s bare feet became famous, other people reported seeing him without shoes — one even after Officer DePrimo’s gift — and one woman said she had bought him a pair of shoes a year ago. Whatever the case, Mr. Hillman seemed accustomed to walking the pavement shoeless.

    He was panhandling on Sunday night and carried a cup with a few coins inside.

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    Mr. Hillman said he was from South Plainfield, N.J. He said he joined the Army in 1978 and served as a “food service specialist” in the United States and Germany.

    He produced a worn veteran’s identification card that confirmed his service.

    Mr. Hillman said that he was honorably discharged after five years and that before he became homeless he worked in kitchens in New Jersey.

    He has two children — Nikita, 22, and Jeffrey, 24 — but has had little contact with them since a visit three years ago, Mr. Hillman said.

    He was reluctant to talk about how he ended up on the streets, staring blankly ahead when asked how his life went off course.

    After a long pause, he shook his head and said, “I don’t know.”

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    But what of the shoeless man?

    For days, his bare feet — blistered and battered — were well known. Yet precise details about him proved elusive.

    His name is Jeffrey Hillman, and on Sunday night, he was once again wandering the streets — this time on the Upper West Side — with no shoes.

    The $100 pair of boots that Officer DePrimo had bought for him at a Sketchers store on Nov. 14 were nowhere to be seen.

    “Those shoes are hidden. They are worth a lot of money,” Mr. Hillman said in an interview on Broadway in the 70s. “I could lose my life.”

    Mr. Hillman, 54, was by turns aggrieved, grateful and taken aback by all the attention that had come his way — even as he struggled to figure out what to do about it.

    “I was put on YouTube, I was put on everything without permission. What do I get?” he said. “This went around the world, and I want a piece of the pie.”

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    ”Homeless Man Is Grateful for Officer’s Gift of Boots. But He Again Is Barefoot” and guess why? …nyt headines with wowser quotes like this: ”becoming a symbol for a million acts of kindness that go unnoticed every day and a reminder that even in this tough, often anonymous city, people can still look out for one another. ” AND ”

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    KEy 2 — ”How does a man go from having shoes to not having shoes?”

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    You think he’s shoeless because he doesn’t own a pair of shoes?

    There’s a one-armed guy in my city who sits there with no shirt on all winter with a coffee cup on his stump like he’s trying to keep warm. He has a nice jacket and lives in an apartment.

    I give to the homeless through the shelters and the salvation army. The poor and homeless will go there if they truly need food/clothing.

    Cue dickens:

    but some would rather die!

    Well if they’d rather die then they’d better do it and decrease the surplus population!

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    I personally know a few cops, and while bribing for information happens, I don’t think this is the case in this picture. As one of the people who commented stated: this guy hasn’t had shoes for years. Maybe this officer decided to give from his heart, not his stations piggy bank.

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    I don’t want to be the guy to burst everyones happy-bubbles, but the homeless man probably gave the cop some information in return. I’m related to a few officers, my brother being a plain clothes officer. He will purchase homeless guys meals, clothes, etc. etc. in exchange for information. It all can be written off by the department as a work expense.

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    KEY –” I tried to give a homeless man shoes in NYC in the winter of 2003, he said “no thanks”, he said he got more money if not wearing shoes.”

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    sources unmasked the homeless man as 54-year-old Jeffery Hillman, a petty criminal who has been arrested nearly a dozen times since 1983. Most of his 11 collars are for drug possession, but others include criminal mischief and public lewdness.

    A police source said Hillman is often seen strolling barefoot in the area and suspect it’s part of a scam to squeeze donations from tourists. Hillman, who last lived in a Harlem YMCA in April, could not be reached Friday for comment.

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    Someone just happened to be there to take a picture? With all of the deserved bad publicity cops everywhere have been getting lately this sounds like a P.R. stunt to me.

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    I work near Bryant Park. I’ve seen this guy many many times over the past few years, and he never has shoes on. Even in the middle of winter, walking in snow or cold rain, in the frigid subways. Sometimes he’ll wear a bag around his feet, but that’s it. Very sad to see. Have a feeling these shoes will get sold quickly, and he’ll be barefoot again in no time.

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    these are all comments from REDDIT …go look!

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    I just saw this guy twenty minutes ago outside with no shoes on…

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    This is the southeast corner of Times Square. 7th avenue and 42nd street. Steps of the New Victory theatre in the background. They’re right outside the sketchers store, Picture was taken with the photographer standing in front of quicksilver. Wallgreens is about 50 yards behind photographer.

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    I saw this homeless guy LAST NIGHT on my way home. He is around all the time and is nearly always shoeless. He was in bare feet last night. Its part of his thing. It gets him the big bucks from the tourists.

    A jaded new yorker.

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    I see this guy a lot around 39th and B’way – I give him some cash sometimes, very rough to see, especially in the cold.

    He seems mentally challenged – I hope he gets help.

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    After watching The Wire, I imagine the cop is trying to connect with the community and hopefully get some good eyes on the street.

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    notice in the photo that the homeless guy is doiing his scam in front of outside the Skechers store in Times Square. and the cop fell for that?

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    And the iconic image magically appears for a department trying to repair its image? This is not cynicism but bad journalism on the part of the press to rush out a feel good story without finding out all the facts. I’m sorry but you’ve all been taken for a ride. This will all unravel soon, mark my word……. Legitimate acts of being a good samaritan should be vetted appropriately. ”

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    A reddit readers writes ”Jennifer Foster, the photographer, works for the PR arm of the Pinal County Sherriff’s office of Arizona. This officer, who 3 years on the job just notices this homeless man who never wears shoes and who he must have seen hundreds of times on the beat there in Times Square, hears “laughing” at the homeless man and buys the most expensive shoes he could find? And the iconic image magically appears for a department trying to repair its image? This is not cynicism but bad journalism on the part of the press to rush out a feel good story without finding out all the facts. I’m sorry but you’ve all been taken for a ride. This will all unravel soon, mark my word. It’s stories like the one in Logan Utah a couple of years ago (see here that deserve this kind of red carpet rollout on the goodness of humanity. Legitimate acts of being a good samaritan should be vetted appropriately. ”

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    NOTE: Jennifer Foster, the photographer, works for the PR arm of the Pinal County Sherriff’s office of Arizona. And her father was also a police officer who often bought things for homeless men too. Ring a bell? Was she really just a “tourist” that night in NYC in late November? The question needs to be answered. Was she mayne attendiong a national Police PR conference?

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    Bill, NYT dishes new story, but they Still don’t get it….the big question is DID JENNIFER FOSTER SET UP THAT PHOTO as a PR stunt in cahoots with NYPD PR dept? yES OR NO? The 3rd count em 123 NYT piece this time goes to Hillman the con man and they quote him as saying after the reporter asks where the shoes are that the officer gave him “Those shoes are hidden. They are worht a lot of money. I could lose my life.” Obviosuly, the man is mentally unhealthy and needs help. Not interviewing by the Times. More to the point of NEXT JOURNALISM, the NYT needs to ask the so called Arizon “tourist” and i put the the word tourist in CAVEAT QUOTEs there becauyse as a PR officer for the Pinal COunty Po0lice dept in Arizon she was more than just a mere Tourist in NYC. Was she attending a PR event that week? In cahoots with NYPD PR people? someone needs to ask her and ask her fast. This story has spiralled out of control, and it neve3r should have been a story at all. It was never fact checked or vettted. The Times and the WSJ have scrambled egg on their collective face. Verify, then trust. Verify, then print. This story is a mess.