This is a repost from Alex Riedlinger, a photographer in Portland, Oregon who was at the protest the day of the infamous “Ferguson hug” between Devonte Hart, a 12 year old Black boy, and Brett Barnum, a white police officer.
Alex Riedlinger: “Here are the images of Devonte I took. The first depicts him and his guardian just prior to him approaching the officer, in my mind she seems to be coaching him though the picture does not imply this. The second was taken just before the hug and you can see as a crowd and captive audience is starting to form.
Here is a copy of what I [Alex Riedlinger] wrote earlier regarding the image of the hug circulating:
'The cropping of an image is everything when it comes to its subjectivity and the way ideas are projected unto it.
Every picture I’ve seen of this crops out the circus of photographers that surrounded these two creating a captive audience. With such a captive audience I can’t really say that the officer did anything that his superiors wouldn’t have told him to do. They were there just as much for public relations as to keep the peace otherwise the dept. wouldn’t have sent every queer looking, POC and female cop on the force.
The way this image has been propagandized is highly disturbing to me because it distracts from the real issues. This has never been about the relationship between individual officers and young Black men, but about the way in which our institutions and society protect cops, granting them license to use lethal force in ANY circumstance. Whether they do use it or decide to demonstrate “love” is irrelevant.’
I would like to add that Devonte was crying before approaching the officer while he was talking to his guardian, presumably because he was terrified. This brings the question of coercion to my mind, but I’ll let ya’ll debate over it.”
6 Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.
10 Never trust thine enemy: for like as iron rusteth, so is his wickedness.
11 Though he humble himself, and go crouching, yet take good heed and beware of him, and thou shalt be unto him as if thou hadst wiped a lookingglass, and thou shalt know that his rust hath not been altogether wiped away.
12 Set him not by thee, lest, when he hath overthrown thee, he stand up in thy place; neither let him sit at thy right hand, lest he seek to take thy seat, and thou at the last remember my words, and be pricked therewith.
13 Who will pity a charmer that is bitten with a serpent, or any such as come nigh wild beasts?