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Sentimental hug photo staged?



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.


  1. Evelynne Stiles on December 3, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Does it really matter if it was staged or not? We need more pictures like this being put on FB and other social media sites instead of the burning of businesses….A free hug is just that…Free…let it be

    • Missy on December 3, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      I so share your sentiments.. Let it go.. Such irresponsible coverage & writing!!!

      • Sherry Mitchell on December 4, 2014 at 3:53 am

        It wasn’t staged, happened in Portland, Or

    • Sherry Mitchell on December 4, 2014 at 3:51 am

      They say it was from Ferguson but it really is Portland, Or…look at the cops patch…on the picture floating around can see it when you enlarge it.