DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It took just a social media moment for Mark Hughes to become a wanted man.
“Twenty-four hours ago, you googled my name? It was a soccer player,” said Hughes, “you google my name now, I’m a suspect.”
On Thursday night in downtown Dallas, gunfire scattered peaceful protestors marching in solidarity with cities struggling with fatal police involved shootings. Seconds later, Cory Hughes directed his younger brother to give his lawfully carried weapon to a police officer.
The exchange was even captured on video.
“The reason we were even in downtown was because less than 48 hours ago a young man that had a license to carry a firearm was killed,” said Cory Hughes. “He was legally carrying a gun and … he was killed and I didn’t want my brother to become a hashtag.”
Nevertheless, Dallas police later released Mark’s photo, naming him a suspect.
Mark and Cory spoke with CBS11 overnight after cooperating with police and being cleared of any involvement.
Both were then stunned that an “opportunist,” as the then unnamed shooter was called, had brought unimaginable violence to the peaceful gathering. Still, Mark says the department has made no effort to clear his name with the same enthusiasm and speed with which they made him a suspect: nor has he received an apology.
“I expected them to come out and say this individual was wrongly accused by our department,” said Mark Hughes. “I’m hurt not just for me, but my family, those associated with me. I’m hurt because my name is tainted. Mark Hughes will never be the same. I was labeled the most wanted man, for something I didn’t do.”
Now, the brothers say those accusations have led to frightening consequences.
“Last night I got people sending me Google maps of my address, saying ‘I know where you live, we’re coming to get you.’,” said Cory Hughes. “I had to move my family out at 4 in the morning to an undisclosed location.”
Cory helped to organize the rally and says while he appreciates the police officers that risked their lives to protect the marchers, the distrust runs deep. “Whenever you are a voice speaking truth to power, people despise that and they’d rather take you out than see you be an agent of change.”
“If I can just be candid: I’m still just a black man living in America. No matter how educated I am, no matter how articulate, charismatic I am, I’m just a black man living in America,” said Cory, then adding, “I’m expendable.”
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