A man from San Diego, who is the founder of the Free Hugs Project, was at the scene on the second day of the Charlotte protests, giving out free hugs.
Ken Nwadike could be seen hugging riot police while demonstrators took to the streets to protest the police shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott. Some people were not happy with Nwadike giving hugs to the police.
Charlotte riots: Man gives out hugs to riot police
Nwadike, founder of the Free Hugs Project, chronicles his experience through videos and posts he shares on social media. His videos have been massively viewed – in excess of 125 million times. Nwadike said he was inspired to start the project after the tragic Boston bombings in 2013.
“I wanted to figure out a creative way to pay my respects, so I said if there was a bomb there I’m just going to be the ‘love bomb!’” he said, as reported by FOX 5. “The following year I went out to the race and I just decided to hug people.”
Meanwhile, conflicting interpretations emerged from the footage that shows the police shooting. While the police said the shooting was justified as there was imminent danger to the officers, Scott’s family said the victim was shot as he was walking backwards with his hands at his side.
Charlotte riots: Keith Lamont Scott’s demeanor was not aggressive, lawyer says
Scott was shot on Tuesday afternoon by the officer who has been identified as 26-year-old Brentley Vinson. The incident occurred when the police, who were serving warrants for a different individual, noticed Scott emerge from his vehicle with what the officers said was a handgun. The protests erupted after Scott’s daughter posted a video on Facebook saying her father was unarmed.
Also read: Keith Lamont Scott, Lyric Scott – Father And Daughter At Center Of Charlotte Uprising (Facts, Photos)
As reported by the Charlotte Observer, the lawyer for Scott’s family, Justin Bamberg, said the videos show that the victim got out of the vehicle when instructed by the officers; his demeanor was not aggressive.
While Bamberg said it was not possible to see in the video whether Scott was holding a firearm in his hands, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Kerr Putney said the footage did not “give me absolute, definitive visual evidence that will confirm a person was pointing a gun. I did not see that in the video.”
Putney further added that the “totality” of the evidence suggests that the police officers did face a deadly threat.