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Florida trooper breaks protest line to hug woman

Video of hug shown to nation by White House

A simple act between a Florida activist and a Florida Highway Patrol trooper helped diffuse tension during a protest Sunday.

Now that moment has moved passed their community and is warming hearts online.

Demonstrators tried making their way onto the Julia Tuttle Causeway, Sunday night, but they were met with a line of Florida state troopers blocking the eastbound on-ramp.

Activist Renita Holmes lives just feet from where a police car burned Saturday night.

She was on her scooter, Sunday night, near that causeway on-ramp trying to keep things from escalating between those troopers and protesters.

Captain Roger Reyes, a 26-year veteran trooper, was in command Sunday night and never had an experience quite like this one.

"I just asked her, simply, may I hug you and she said yes," Reyes said. "It was a moment of her pain."

With the woman’s blessing, Reyes went for the hug.

"It was okay for him to be human, too," Reyes said. "And we had a wonderful opportunity to show that love wins."

"She kept saying, they all have moms, we have moms,” Reyes said. “And I saw that it wasn't just one-sided. That she was caring for us, as well as the protesters out there."

WPLG learned Captain Reyes lost his own mother a year-and-a-half ago.

“We embraced, and there was a connection there, and it was special,” Reyes said. “I wish I could hug my mom. She filled the void, yesterday."

Reyes and Holmes' hug was even shared by the White House.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnaney played the video during a news conference, sharing it with the nation.