Right after the fatal shootings of five Dallas police officers at a protest—while desperately searching for suspects—police tweeted out a picture of a smiling man dressed in Army camouflage holding a rifle to get the public’s help to find him.
The man, Mark Hughes, turned himself into police shortly after his picture went viral. The real suspect, Micah Johnson, was killed later after a standoff with police in a parking garage.
Mark Hughes’ attorney tells me Hughes is getting threats. He is not in police custody. Now in “safe location”. pic.twitter.com/PTzMclgM1l
— Allison Harris (@allisonfox4news) July 8, 2016
Hughes’ brother, Corey, posted a Facebook live video while Hughes was in police custody. “I’m at the police station right now … when they decided to put my brother on the national media as a suspect,” he said.
“I approached the police to let them know, ‘Hey man, brother had nothing to do with it,” he added.
“Family, friends—make sure ya’ll let the world know: Mark Hughes had nothing to do with that. Please let them know,” he said, adding: “He’s turned himself in… there he is, they got him,” and he’s “turned his gun in.”
Hughes told CBS Local that he has received thousands of death threats. “Now ya’ll have my face on national news, are ya’ll going to come out and say that this young man had nothing to do with it,” he said, referring to Dallas Police, saying he didn’t get an apology from them.
Hughes said the picture of him holding the rifle showed him joking with police officers as he helped evacuate protest attendees, according to an interview with Time magazine.
“Mark Hughes of yesterday is not the same Mark Hughes of today,” he told Time as he was sitting in a lawyer’s office in Dallas. “When I was walking out of the police station, I saw on big screen TV—on CNN, I think—I saw my face on there. I couldn’t believe it. I was angry for the simple fact that I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was just down there to clear my name.”
After his image was released by Dallas Police and subsequently to national media outlets, he panicked. He found a small group of cops, turned himself in, and was taken to central booking.
His brother convinced him to leave the weapon with police. “We know we’ve done nothing wrong, but there are photos of us all over social media,” Corey said. “I didn’t think it would be wise to walk out there with a gun.”
But the damage has been done, his brother said.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 10, 2016
“The question is: how can he ever regain his reputation of just being a law-abiding citizen?” Corey asked in a later video.
He also described Johnson, the gunman, as “an opportunist” who used the protest for his own agenda and “harm cops.”
“We’re not about that,” he said.
Toward the end of the July 8 video, Corey records himself as he’s released from Dallas Police custody—along with his brother. “We all over CNN,” he said.
“They treating us like we [expletive] criminals,” Corey tells a police officer, acknowledging that it’s an “intense situation.”
In all, five officers were shot and killed, and seven police and two civilians were injured.