Even as anger and violence following the Ferguson verdict refuses to die down, a powerful image of a white police officer hugging a teary black boy is being shared on social media as the 'other side' of the US police.
The photo, taken by Oregon-based photographer Johnny Nguyen, shows a 12-year-old Devonte Hart, who was holding a 'free hugs' sign at a Ferguson demonstration in Portland earlier this week, receiving a hug from Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum.
"Do I get one of those?," the officer reportedly asked the boy holding the sign, and then the two hugged, with tears running down Hart's face.
Photographer Ngyuen, who happened to be at the spot, captured the photo that has stood out amidst the images of violence and destruction as protests broke out across the country.
"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," Ngyuen told photography blog PetaPixel.
Hart's life story itself is pulling heart strings, as a website reported how he was born into a 'life of drugs and extreme poverty' and how his life changed when he was adopted by white parents.
Another photo of a white police officer playing with black children was also shared on social media, after days of anger and protests following the grand jury's verdict that let off Ferguson shooting Officer Darren Wilson without charges.
— Bipartisan Report (@Bipartisanism) November 29, 2014
The American police force has come under much criticism for the numerous instances of shooting of unarmed blacks, and a recent United Nations report also rapped the US administration to check on police brutalities.