Hug Between Officer, Kid at Ferguson Rally Is a Hit

Image out of Portland goes viral
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2014 12:38 PM CST
Hug Between Officer, Kid at Ferguson Rally Is a Hit
In this Nov. 25 photo provided by Johnny Nguyen, Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum and Devonte Hart, 12, hug at a rally where people had gathered in support of the protests in Ferguson, Mo.   (AP Photo/Johnny Huu Nguyen)

One image from the many Ferguson rallies held around the country in the wake of this week's grand jury decision continues to gain traction. As the Oregonian explains, it's from a rally on Tuesday in Portland. The photo by freelance photographer Johnny Nguyen shows Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum hugging 12-year-old Devonte Hart. Barnum says he noticed that Devonte had tears in his eyes and was holding a sign that said, "Free Hugs," so he struck up a conversation.

When they finished talking, Barnum asked if he could get one of those free hugs, and Devonte obliged, again with tears in his eyes. The photo has since gone viral, notes USA Today, with Nguyen sharing people's thoughts about it on his Twitter feed. Devonte's remarkable back story was chronicled even before this incident by Chloe Johnson at the Paper Trail, who writes that he "entered the world 12 years ago with drugs pumping through his tiny newborn body. " He and two siblings were later adopted together. (More uplifting news stories.)

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