Picture of White Cop Hugging Black Boy Spells Hope at Ferguson Protest in Portland


The Ferguson decision continues to generate interest across the web and social media.

Netizens have been posting their own sentiments about the grand jury's decision. Some posts have even gone viral.

NFL player Benjamin Watson's poetic Facebook status detailed the emotional roller-coaster many experience. The status received more than 800,000 likes and was shared almost 450,000 times.

The latest viral content is a powerful image captured by freelance photographer Johnny Nguyen.

The photo shows a 12-year-old protester, later identified as Devonte Hart, who had been holding a sign that read "Free Hugs" at a Ferguson demonstration that erupted in Portland, Ore. on Nov. 25. He was seen hugging Police Sgt. Bret Barnum.

Nguyen, who happened to be at the same spot, captured the photo, which has now gained worldwide attention and sparked hope.

"I came upon this boy who had tears in his eyes and I knew this was the place to be, so I followed him in the crowd," said Nguyen. "Then he came upon the police officer. They talked and he gave him a hug."

In the middle of the demonstration, Barnum noticed Hart holding the sign. He motioned the boy over and soon they were seen talking. At the end of the conversation, Nguyen said that Barnum pointed to the sign and asked Hart, "Do I get one of those?" At that instance, the two hugged as the young Hart's eyes welled up with tears.

"I had a gut feeling there was something special about Devonte, so I stayed at the scene. Before I knew it, Sgt. Barnum was speaking to Devonte. That's when I got the powerful image of them hugging. From there, I knew I had something special. Something that I wanted the world to see. A powerful message I wanted to communicate," Nguyen added.

The photo has gone viral, with over 150,000 shares on Facebook and other social media sites.

"As a photographer, you always have to trust your gut -- your intuition. It's your best tool," shared Nguyen.

It turns out that Devonte had already been through a lot in his life, setting him apart from other kids his age. Born to a drug addicted mother, he had smoked, tasted alcohol, handled firearms, and suffered harsh neglect and abuse since he was four.

When Barnum asked him why he was crying, he responded by saying how he was deeply concerned about the level of police brutality toward black youth.

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