The picture of Devonte Hart, a 12-year-old Black boy, and Brett Barnum, a white police officer, hugging at a Ferguson protest rally in Oregon has gone viral. People have described the picture as the hug heard around the world, but word has come that the photo was staged. An eyewitness to the event, photographer Alex Riedlinger, has released pictures he took before the hug.
In the photos it can clearly be seen that Devonte seems to receive coaching before the hug as a crowd begins to form. Riedlinger has stated that “’The cropping of an image is everything when it comes to its subjectivity and the way ideas are projected onto it.” In addition, Riedlinger claims that Devonte was crying before the picture was taken as he was receiving coaching.
The picture has garnered more than 500,000 Facebook likes and has been shared by millions.