Dallas Police Department fucked up in a very real way last night. A citizen of Texas, Mark Hughes, was exercising his right to carry a weapon, in his case an AR-15, just as we've seen any NUMBER of individuals do at places like Chipotle, or wherever people go in Texas, where open carry of firearms is legal. He brought his gun to the protests, which while maybe not the best decision, is still perfectly legal. Again, perfectly legal.
Well, Dallas PD, erroneously, tweeted out that he was a suspect and that people should help them find him. There are egregious mistakes and then there are absolute miscarriages of justice. As a community, we are all super familiar with miscarriages of justice, but even this seems to be going the extra mile in fuckshit. After being alerted to the fact that he was being named as a suspect, he immediately handed over his firearm to police officers and was interrogated for 30 minutes before being let go.
Unforunately, the Dallas PD has yet to issue a public apology for wrongly identifying him as a suspect. In short, they could have gotten him killed. This law abiding citizen, participating in a demonstration with already heightened tension, has a very visible gun after police officers are shot and is targeted as being a person who may have done it. We can argue about the logic of bringing a gun to this situation until the cows come home, but again, LEGAL. Shit, he should feel glad that the police officers he found and turned his gun into clearly hadn't been made aware that he was being identified as a suspect or that could have ended terribly.
The fact that Dallas PD tweeted out (and media obviously picked up on it) and broadcast his face as a possible face of the situation is one of the more irresponsible acts I've seen in a good long while. On the one hand, I can almost understand: the situation has reached a fever pitch, police officers are dead, others are wounded, and you want to find the person as quickly as possible. But what about due dilligence? What about some form of evidence OTHER THAN this law abiding citizen has a firearm? If he is legally allowed to carry it, then how is he automatically a suspect unless "Black Man With a Gun" is the crime. We already know that answer.
Thankfully, Mark Hughes is alive to speak about the fact that he was identified as a suspect, and eventually let go by police though they apparently tried to convince him that he was the shooter.
It just goes to show you, even being a law abiding Black man in America makes you a criminal. If anybody is dumb enough to think race doesn't factor in here, they're a lost cause. Period.
Dallas PD owes him a very public apology for putting his life in danger. Maybe it comes. But without proof, it should never have happened in the first place.
Amazing how many Black men have died under those same circumstances.