“I didn’t see color,” Hutchinson said. “I just saw somebody who needed help.”
It was June 13 and Hutchinson was at home, babysitting his grandchildren, when a friend called him. Fearful that a demonstration involving a far-right group and Black Lives Matter protesters could turn violent, the friend, Pierre Noah, asked him for help.
“Pierre twisted my arm,” Hutchinson said. “The idea was to stop any of these young protesters from doing anything that they’re going to regret later on. When you’re Black, especially, and you end up in front of the criminal justice system, you don’t always get a fair shout.”
Noah, Hutchinson and three other friends went to the demonstration not as protesters, Hutchinson said, but as unofficial overseers. The men saw themselves as “more experienced individuals of the community,” he said — men with one common goal: to keep the peace.
Hutchinson said there was tension from the get-go — “a lot of unrest (and) frustration.” The men defused several incidents that were not caught on camera before they spotted some BLM protesters and “some of the far-right guys,” he said, in an altercation. They made their way to the scene, where they found a White man, Bryn Male, lying in the fetal position, injured.
Hutchinson, a personal trainer and athletic coach, picked Male up, put him over his shoulder and carried him through the crowd to safety. Soon after, the violence subsided and crowds began to disperse. And before Hutchinson and his friends even made it back home, images of the rescue started going viral.
“It was during the lockdown, so we were all outside having something to eat … sort of talking over the events of the day,” Hutchinson said. “And then I had a message ping up on my phone from my sister, saying, ‘Is this you?'”
Overnight, Hutchinson’s image went viral and interview requests flooded in. In the days and weeks to come, he appeared on many major news outlets as well as in Vogue magazine and on the cover of Men’s Health.
“It’s been an amazing, amazing journey,” Hutchinson said. “I’ve spoken to the likes of Rev. Al Sharpton, Prince Harry. I’ve been nominated a GQ Hero and received a humanitarian award. I’ve had Michelle Obama write a message on her Instagram. It hasn’t stopped, and it’s still going.”
“We want to use our platform and make a change in our community for the young people especially that really need our support and help at this moment in time,” Hutchinson said.
“We’re inspiring other people to be the change in the world that you want to see. Go out there and do what’s right. Don’t stand by and watch certain things unfold when you know that you have the ability to do something about it.”