- The 16-inch MacBook Pro is a beast, and it has a decent keyboard 5 Years Ago
- This group is scanning thousands of faces in Congress today to protest facial recognition 5 Years Ago
- Why everyone is debating Pete Buttigieg’s Medicare for All stance? Today 10:47 AM
- The Motorola Razr is a foldable homage to millennial nostalgia Today 10:22 AM
- The ‘I’m baby’ meme gets much more literal on TikTok Today 10:20 AM
- MrDeadMoth avoids jail time for assaulting pregnant partner during live stream Today 9:21 AM
- Deval Patrick 2020 fever is not catching on Today 9:08 AM
- How to stream Steelers vs. Browns on Thursday Night Football Today 8:13 AM
- How to stream Mexico vs. Netherlands in the U-17 World Cup semis Today 6:46 AM
- ‘Waves’ wrestles with the family drama and breaks it in half Today 6:30 AM
- QAnon-touting congressman sneaks ‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’ into tweets Wednesday 7:12 PM
- Ocasio-Cortez met a famous drag queen–and the right melted down Wednesday 6:09 PM
- Woman says Lyft driver tried to kidnap her Wednesday 5:18 PM
- Debunking the right-wing conspiracy theories from the impeachment hearing Wednesday 4:29 PM
- Maroon 5 approves of the latest TikTok trend Wednesday 3:54 PM
How a Ferguson protest rally photo went instantly viral
Devonte Hart and Sgt. Bret Barnum didn’t let a police barrier stand between them.
Till now, the Ferguson saga has been defined by images of strife and brutality, tear gas and batons and blood. Today, for the first time since police officer Darren Wilson killed unarmed teen Michael Brown in early August, a different sort of photo has stunned the American consciousness, exemplifying the compassion this nation will need to survive.
Freelance photographer Johnny Nguyen took the picture below at a Portland, Ore., rally on Nov. 25, the day after it was announced that a grand jury would not indict Wilson in Brown’s death, the Oregonian reported. Devonte Hart, 12, was standing near a police barricade with a sign that read “Free Hugs”—an ongoing charity project of his—and caught the attention of Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum, who took him up on the offer.
Devonte’s moms, Sarah and Jennifer Hart, detailed the emotional encounter in a Facebook post.
Tears rushing from his eyes and soaking his sweater, he gazed upon them not knowing how they would react. After a while, one of the officers approached him and extended his hand. Their interaction was uncomfortable at first. … There were generic questions about his favorite subject and what he liked to do in the summer, but the one that mattered hit straight to the heart. He asked Devonte why he was crying. His response about his concerns regarding the level of police brutality towards young black kids was met with an unexpected and seemingly authentic (to Devonte), “Yes. *sigh* I know. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” The officer then asked if he could have one of his hugs.
It became the “hug shared around the world,” rocketing to Facebook virality, and while it may not alter the dynamic of forthcoming clashes between police and protesters, it’s a powerful incitement to change. Let’s hope it’s the first of many embraces to come.
Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions, and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'