Culture

The Dallas Protester Misidentified As A Suspect Has Received ‘Thousands Of Death Threats’

After the horrific police shooting in Dallas on Thursday night, one suspect — Micah Johnson — has been identified so far. As the event unfolded, however, the Texas city’s police department circulated a photo of “one of [their] suspects” on Twitter. The picture of a young African-American man walking among the Black Lives Matter protesters, wearing a camouflage shirt and brandishing an AR-15 assault rifle, quickly went viral. Unfortunately for protester Mark Hughes, who wasn’t doing anything illegal, this was actually a case of misidentification — one that would prove disastrous for him and his family Friday morning.

Soon after the tweeted photo went live, CBS DFW caught up with Hughes’s older brother, protest organizer Cory Hughes. When a reporter asked Cory about the Dallas Police Department’s claim that Mark was a suspect, he denied it outright:

“First of all, that’s my little brother. That’s not the suspect. He called me earlier today. We’ve been to several protests, and he decided to come out here and exercise his second amendment right to bear arms. When people started shooting, I found my little brother and made him give his gun to a law officer. So although he may have had his gun, he is not a suspect.”

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Cory revealed that after turning over his weapon to the police, Mark left the scene and returned home. “They got him all over the national news like he’s a suspect,” he exclaimed, adding: “That’s a threat to his life. So he is not a suspect!” Two other men standing behind Cory chimed in, identifying themselves as Mark’s classmates who’d driven into Dallas with him for the protest. They corroborated Cory’s insistence that Mark had turned his weapon over to the police, and even stated it wasn’t loaded at the time.

Despite the older brother’s passion, officers concluded the interview to talk to him and Mark’s classmates. They still wanted to talk to Mark about the night’s events in order to determine whether or not he was involved.

With his brother by his side, Mark turned himself in and was immediately interrogated by Dallas police. He later revealed that, instead of trying to confirm his story, they fed him lies about their possessing videos of him and witness statements about his participation in the shooting. “I mean at the end of the day,” he told CBS DFW, “the system is trying to get me.”

Needless to say, neither he nor his brother Cory were happy about their treatment. Especially since the department hasn’t apologized to Mark for misidentifying him, removed its tweet or publicly acknowledged his innocence.

To make matters worse, Mark, Cory and their families have received “thousands of death threats” since the photo was posted. According to the Washington Post:

“They have received thousands of death threats already,” said attorney Corwyn Davis during the conference. “Unfortunately, there was a lot of negligence with that picture.” Davis said it was also unclear when or if the Hughes brothers were read their Miranda rights at the police station.

Meanwhile, Twitter hasn’t been too kind about the offending tweet’s continued presence online:

UPDATE — 5:26 p.m. ET: The Dallas Police Department’s Twitter account finally deleted its original tweet identifying Hughes as a suspect late Friday afternoon.

(Via CBS DFW, The Daily Beast and the Washington Post)

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