Leader of advocacy group vindicates man wrongly identified as Dallas ambush shooter

Posted at 6:44 PM, Jul 11, 2016

The Dallas police ambush and the shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling have one unusual thing in common - the use of social media to tell these stories while in the heat of the moment.

Social media expert and Baylor University professor Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez said social media has become an ever-present factor in social issues.

"Social media is used to affect change," she said.  "As you know many movements have actually started from social media or actually they’ve continued from social media - for example the Occupy Movement, Arab Spring, and Black Lives Matter." 

Statista estimates nearly 2.2 billion people currently use social media, and just one post with the wrong information can cause a lot of damage.

The Dallas Police Department tweeted a photo that incorrectly identified Cory L. Hughes as a suspect in the Dallas police ambush. 

Hughes followed up their tweet with a Facebook live video from the D.P.D - where he defended himself and recounted his experience with police.

Moody-Ramirez said having social media guidelines set before wrong information is shared can help organizations save face. 

“I think they need to talk about it before it happens. You need to be proactive rather than reactive,” she said.

The Dallas Police Department did react after incorrectly identifying Hughes as a suspect by deleting the tweet.

C.J. Grisham, the founder and president of Open Carry Texas, said an apology was not enough, so his group took to Facebook to defend Hughes. 

“The guy had his gun on his back. A shooter doesn’t have a gun on his back - a shooter has a gun in his hand,” Grisham said. ” We as an organization what to protect the rights of law abiding citizens to open carry from these kinds of actions.”

Grisham said people who are openly carrying their firearms during active shooter situations should remember to not get involved if their lives are not in danger, to protect themselves if they are in danger, and to make yourself known to law enforcement as soon as possible.

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