Saturday, July 9, 2016

Open carry advocate unhappy about label as 'suspect' in Dallas shooting

Posted By on Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 6:59 AM

click to enlarge NOT A SUSPECT: The man pictured, Mark Hughes, was legally carrying a weapon at Dallas protest where shooting broke out. For a time, police considered him a suspect though he had no part in the shooting.
  • NOT A SUSPECT: The man pictured, Mark Hughes, was legally carrying a weapon at Dallas protest where shooting broke out. For a time, police considered him a suspect though he had no part in the shooting.
Mark Hughes, an advocate of open carry of firearms, is understandably unhappy about being identified for a time as a suspect in the slaying of five Dallas police officers. He had no role in the shooting.

UPDATED COMMENT: My original post apparently was read in some quarters as criticism of police and defense of this Texas gun nut. It wasn't. See comments for more if you are interested.

Hughes was at the Dallas demonstration against police violence and went there with an AR-15 strapped across his chest, according to the linked AP account.  The Dallas Police Department Twitter post shown here went viral and was re-tweeted 40,000 times.

"The world saw him as a mass-murderer. Why? Because he was a black man carrying a gun," Hughes' attorney, Paul Saputo, told WFAA-TV.
The night was chaotic, of course. Hughes turned himself in and was soon released. Hughes' brother had organized the protest march and when shooting started, he said he urged his brother to give his weapon to a police officer lest someone see him with the gun, assume he was the shooter and fire at him.

Hughes is considering a lawsuit for defamation for his identification as a suspect. Huffington Post notes that the Twitter ID of him as a suspect remained on the web for about 12 hours.

A new Texas law allows open carry of rifles, shotguns and pistols. Gun activists in Arkansas contend a law here introduced and passed in 2013 as a technical cleanup produced (either by hidden intention or accident) legal status for open carry in Arkansas. The courts have not yet decided the issue.

Mark Hughes' experience illustrates that walking around with a gun strapped to your chest can lead to misperceptions.

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