Police Officer And Boy Embrace In Hug Heard 'Round The World

March 25, 2015Mar 25, 2015

At a Ferguson rally in Portland, 12-year-old Devante Hart was holding a "Free Hugs" sign when Sgt. Bret Barnum gestured him over.

Barnum told Fox News that he and another officer at the rally were laughing because they thought the boy's sign was cute, but when they looked closer, he says, "we saw [the boy] was crying, and it was very perplexing."

Devante approached the officers and Barnum says the two of them "engaged in a really nice conversation. It was pretty heartfelt. I noticed through our conversation we were just talking about life, we were talking about school, we were talking about travel. I asked him the things he liked to do. He really told me he likes to do art. And so it kinda broke down some barriers between the two of us and stopped the tears that he had flowing. And It was just really heartfelt. And I could tell that we had a connection. And it just kinda evolved from there."

As the conversation came to a close, Barnum pointed to Devante's "Free Hug" sign, which was lying on the ground. "I looked down to his sign. I just pointed to it and I said, 'Hey, do I get one of those?'"

Devante then grabbed Barnum "pretty tight" and the two engaged in a "meaningful hug." Barnum says, "this wasn't just a ten second hug."

Jen Hart, Devante's mom, was one of a handful of people in the crowd who caught the moment on camera. 

The image of the white police officer and the African American young man hugging has gone viral and the media is calling it "the hug felt around the world."

In light of the events in Ferguson, what do you think about this gesture of love? Share your thoughts in the comments below.