Photo: Officer hugs boy at Ore. Ferguson protest

A touching photo of an officer hugging a boy at a Portland protest this week has gone viral on social media


By Gosia Wozniacka 
Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. — A touching photo of a white police officer hugging an African-American boy at a Portland protest this week has drawn heavy attention on social media.

The moment was captured by a photographer covering a protest in Portland, Oregon, over a Missouri grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown.

In this Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014 photo provided by Johnny Nguyen, Portland police Sgt. Bret Barnum, left, and Devonte Hart, 12, hug at a rally in Portland, Ore., where people had gathered in support of the protests in Ferguson, Mo.
In this Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014 photo provided by Johnny Nguyen, Portland police Sgt. Bret Barnum, left, and Devonte Hart, 12, hug at a rally in Portland, Ore., where people had gathered in support of the protests in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Image)

At the Portland rally was 12-year-old Devonte Hart, who stood crying out of sadness over the events in Ferguson. He was holding a "Free Hugs" sign.

Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum saw the boy's sign and asked if he could have a hug. The boy gave him one.

Devonte's mom Jen Hart was there Tuesday and remembers the moment as "one of the most emotionally charged experiences I've had as a mother."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press

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