A touching photograph taken during a rally in Portland, Oregon, is fast gaining worldwide attention, after it was shared thousands of times by users, reports Bustle. The image, which shows 12-year-old protester Devonte Hart hugging a cop, was captured by freelance photographer Johnny Nguyen. The powerful image was taken during a protest rally at Portland on November 25.
On that day, thousands of people had gathered to voice their opinions about the Ferguson incident. Among the protesters was a 12-year-old boy named Devonte Hart. Also in the midst of the crowd of protesters was Portland Police Sergeant Bret Barnum. The photo captures a tender moment between Barnum and Devonte, in which the boy who was holding a placard offering “free hugs” gives one to the officer. Devonte is seen crying in the photograph, which according to many is amongst the most powerful images to come out of the violent protests that erupted across Oregon and other parts of the U.S. in the past few days.
The Oregonian reports that the interaction between the officer and Devonte Hart happened at the beginning of the rally. In an interview with a reporter, Sgt. Barnum confirmed that it was he who approached the young boy after he noticed that the boy was in tears. The young man was holding a “Free Hugs” placard, Bret Barnum confirmed. The Sergeant called out to him and the duo started talking. All the while, Johnny Nguyen, the photographer who had noticed the boy and the subsequent interaction between the two, had a feeling that something powerful was about to happen. He hung around the boy for some time.
Meanwhile, the Sergeant at the end of the conversation pointed to the boy’s sign and asked him, “Do I get one of those?” Seconds after the officer uttered those words, the emotional hug between the two happened. Nguyen immediately captured the moment with his camera. In the image, you can see Devonte’s eyes swell up in tears as he hugs the officer. Following the hug, the duo went back to their respective duties.
Later, Ngyuen uploaded the image to his Instagram account. The image was quickly shared by thousands of people and within hours, went viral. As of now, the image has received over 100,000 likes on Facebook, shared and retweeted more than 4,000 times, and received over 1,500 likes on the Instagram account
Later, in the Instagram post, Nguyen thanked everyone who shared his image.
He says, “I want to thank everyone who shared my photo today!!! You guys are playing a great role in spreading the message of hope and humanity as seen here in the photo of Sgt. Barnum and Devonte Hart.”
Do you agree that this image showing an emotional Devonte Hart hugging the sergeant is the most powerful image to have come out of the recent protests?
[Image Via The Oregonian/Johnny Nguyen]