‘We’re all human’: Charlotte activist hugs riot police (VIDEO)
In the midst of the tensions in Charlotte, North Carolina, following the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, the moment a man wearing a ‘Free Hugs’ T-shirt began hugging a row of riot police has been captured on video.
“Thank you for being out here and being peaceful,” a policeman can be heard saying as he receives his hug.
While the moment was seemingly positive, some members of the crowd heckled the hugger, questioning why he would do that when cops are killing people.
“Did he kill somebody?” the hugger, peace activist Ken Nwadike responded, pointing to the officer he had just hugged.
Other protesters grew angry, with one shouting that the police squad had killed his family.
Nwadike defended himself, saying, “I see them as human beings, just like I see everybody on this side as human beings. We're all human. His uniform doesn’t make him a robot, just like your skin color doesn’t make you a criminal.
“None of these people here shot anyone,” he added.
Explaining his motives in a Facebook post, Nwadike said, “Last night was very risky and difficult being on the frontline fighting for peace. I lost my patience with a few people, but I know I got through to many and kept some from getting arrested.”
Nwadike started his Free Hugs Project after the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. The project “spreads love, inspires change and raises awareness of social issues through motivational videos.”
The 34-year-old attended Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders rallies during the primaries. His video from the rallies received millions of views.
“I felt it was important to show viewers the type of supporters that attend each rally,” he explained. “People emulate leaders that they follow, so we have the option to create the type of America that we want to live in based on who we appoint as a leader.”
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency following protests around the state. On Wednesday night a protester was shot in the head, reportedly by another protester.
Demonstrators continue to demand the release of police video showing the fatal shooting of Scott.