The black man wrongly accused of being a suspect in the Dallas shootings has accused police interrogators of lying to him in an attempt to unfairly “get him”.
Mark Hughes said he had received death threats and could have easily been shot dead after his photo was wrongly released by Dallas Police with the plea “This is one of our suspects, please help us find him.”
Speaking to a US television news crew after emerging from a police interrogation room, Mr Hughes said: “I can’t believe it. The crazy thing about it is with hindsight, I could easily have been shot.”
Mr Hughes claimed he was interrogated by police “With police officers lying, saying they have video of me shooting, which is a lie, saying that they have witnesses saying that I shot a gun, which is a lie.
“The system was trying to get me.”
Mr Hughes had been innocently attending the ‘black lives matter’ protest in Dallas, voicing opposition to a spate of fatal shootings of black men by Police. But at the height of the manhunt for the gunmen who shot 11 officers and killed at least five, Dallas Police released a photo on their Twitter feed of Mr Hughes, which appeared to show him attending the protest with what appeared to be an AR-15 assault rifle, which is legal under Texan law.
Beneath the photo, Dallas Police wrote the words: “This is one of our suspects. Please help us find him.”
Mr Hughes said he had no idea his photo had been put on the Dallas Police twitter feed and then been shown on news media all over the world.
“I didn’t know,” he told KVTV. “We received a phone call that my face was on there as a suspect and immediately I flagged down a police officer.”
As the world’s news media described him as a suspect, Mr Hughes said that, having voluntarily turned himself in to police: “I was talking to police, laughing and joking with police officers.”
He claimed the mood turned uglier in the interrogation room. When he was asked if he had received an apology from Dallas Police, Mr Hughes’ brother, who was standing beside him and had earlier tweeted that he was “100 per cent sure” Mr Hughes was innocent, said: “No.”
Mr Hughes said he had told police officers: “You know what? Now you all have my face on the national news, are y’all going to come out and say ‘This young man had nothing to do with it’?”
He added: “We’re getting death threats.
“There was injustice going on, there was persecution on me, unrightly, and I feel they [the police] need to do something about that. Apology? I am not satisfied with an apology.”