For a short time, Mark Hughes was arguably the most sought-after man in the United States.
After gunmen opened fire on law enforcement officers during a peaceful anti-police-violence rally in Dallas, Texas on Thursday night, Dallas police mistakenly identified Hughes, a black man, as "one of our suspects," tweeting a photograph of Hughes carrying a rifle, and urging the public to "help us find him!"
There was just one problem—the man police had identified as a suspect had nothing to do with the shootings.
As the world soon learned, Mark Hughes was simply a black man, legally carrying a gun (Texas is an open carry state, after all) who had been publicly singled out by law enforcement in the kind of botched identification typically reserved for Reddit forums and the cover of the New York Post.
In an interview with local CBS affiliate KTVT, Mark Hughes described his ordeal after turning himself in to Dallas police, making a point to note that as soon as he learned he'd been misidentified as a suspect, he approached a nearby officer to cooperate, and hand over his rifle. The moment was even caught on tape.
"We received a phone call that my face was on there as a suspect, and immediately I flagged down a police officer," Hughes told the station, flanked by his brother Corey, one of the rally's organizers.
"What I'm bothered by is that my brother easily could have been killed because somebody who was irresponsible identified him as a suspect," Corey Hughes explained. "Not as a person of interest, but a suspect!"
Mark Hughes explained that after turning himself in, he was told by police that they were in possession of video and witness testimony implicating him in the shooting, which, he said, "is a lie."
Both Hughes brothers claimed they fear for their personal safety. Their lawyer said they have received "thousands" of death threats.
Early Friday morning, an official with Dallas' public information office tweeted that Hughes had been detained, interviewed, and ultimately, removed as a suspect.
After their release from police custody, neither brother appeared willing to accept a simple apology from law enforcement.
"You've already cleared our names within the department," Corey fumed. "But are you gonna clear our names out here in this world?"