A year ago, Mark Hughes' life was permanently changed when he attended a Black Lives Matter march in Dallas. He was legally carrying his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, which he decided to do to protest the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile, who was also legally carrying a firearm when he was killed because of it. "Does the Second Amendment not apply to us, to bear arms?" Hughes muses. When someone started shooting police at the Dallas march, Hughes turned over his rifle to a police officer in order to safeguard himself against getting shot before the suspect had been caught. Instead, a picture of Hughes carrying his rifle down the street was quickly tweeted out by the Dallas Police Department, which labeled Hughes as a suspect. From there, it was picked up by the local news and CNN. Fusion talks to Hughes for an extensive look at that fateful day and what followed.
Hughes was handcuffed and interrogated for more than an hour; the tweet identifying him as a suspect was left up for most of the following day. Even after the real shooter was caught, people continued to view Hughes as a suspect, leading him to sell two of his businesses, hide out with his family for a while, and even consider selling their home. Yet the Dallas PD has yet to apologize to Hughes or even issue a statement clearing him of suspicion. Hughes ultimately became a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement, and he's often called by people in the Dallas area when they encounter trouble with police. When he went to rally recently for one of those incidents, he again brought his gun, and he was again treated like a criminal (nearly half a dozen police officers ended up with their guns pointed at him; he was cuffed again and police checked to make sure the guns weren't stolen). But he's willing to open carry again, so he can help others with his activism. Click for the full piece. (Read more Longform stories.)