Everything you need to know about #IfTheyGunnedMeDown

The American media's portrayal of young black victims is under scrutiny again following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police.

The unarmed 18-year-old was shot by police in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson in Missouri over the weekend.

Police said he was shot several times after a struggle in a police car, but the incident prompted widespread unrest, with rioting and looting on Sunday night, followed by more peaceful marches on Monday.

Although it is painful to look at a young man's death in such a way, Michael's shooting is the most high profile killing of an unarmed black teenager in the US since George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in 2012.

He was due to start college on Monday, and in initial news reports on his death he was pictured wearing a cap and gown at his high school graduation.

But later on these photos were replaced with one of him wearing a Nike Air Jersey, and showed the teenager making a hand gesture some interpreted as being a gang sign.

This media response - apparently an attempt to shift the blame from police on to the victim - in turn spawned the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown on Twitter, first used by lawyer CJ Lawrence, where users posted two pictures of themselves and wondered which would be used in press reports.

It's also worth noting that the accusation against US media by tweeters here could just as easily be levelled against the British press.

The photo of Mark Duggan, whose death at the hands of police sparked the worst riots in a generation, normally used in news reports is cropped to an extent it masks the fact it was taken at his daughter's funeral.

(Pictures: AP)