"The image of Mr. Brown that spurred the campaign on Twitter showed him with the fingers of his right hand extended in what some considered a peace sign, but which others called a gang sign. A spokeswoman for NBC News, one of the outlets that published the photograph online, said it was taken from Mr. Brown’s personal Facebook page, where it was his profile picture.
In a subsequent article about Mr. Brown’s killing, the network used a different photograph of him that showed him wearing headphones and gazing at the camera.
Tosan Tutse-Tonwe, 32, a blogger, consultant and co-founder of a nonprofit group called Act 4 Accountability, who participated in the campaign, said photographs remove context from a situation, particularly when the public is prone to thinking black men are menacing and therefore deserving of violence.
Mr. Tutse-Tonwe posted a photograph of himself wearing a T-shirt from his nonprofit and another with a black male friend who is flashing peace signs as Mr. Tutse-Tonwe gives a stern look to the camera. Mr. Tutse-Tonwe said he chose to post the photograph with his friend after the image of Mr. Brown making the same hand gesture was circulated.
'Mike was throwing up a peace sign and people thought it was a gang sign? You’ve got to be kidding me,' Mr. Tutse-Tonwe said. 'People make these leaps and there’s no basis in them and they go unchecked.'"