Amid the teargas and chaos in Charlotte on Wednesday night, one man stood out from the crowd in a big way.

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. Unfortunately, a young man was shot in the head during the protests. Condolences to his family. Hate and violence won’t fix the damage that has been done, only love can do that. –Ken E Nwadike Jr (Free Hugs Guy)


Thursday, on his personal Facebook page, Nwadike wrote, “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. Unfortunately, a young man was shot in the head during the protests. Condolences to his family. Hate and violence won’t fix the damage that has been done, only love can do that. #FreeHugs”

Nwadike was called a “p***y n***er” by protestors in the crowd who were incensed that he was hugging law enforcement. He tried to reason with the naysayers, saying his message is one of peace, and clarifying that he’s neutral in this matter. He then tells one protestor that an officer’s uniform doesn’t make him a killer, or a robot, just like how just how his (pointing to the man) skin color doesn’t make him a criminal. We’re all human.

“This man [pointing to the officer] gave me a hug, and he wants to fight me because of that; how does that make sense spreading more hate into the world?” screamed Nwadike. “That’s what’s frustrating me, we can’t love one another?”

“If I couldn’t find work, if I was not blessed to have a job, guess what I would do—I would join the military, I would be a police officer—I would find work in order to feed my children,” said Nwadike.

He also scolded protestors for throwing rocks at storefronts in the downtown area.

“That’s how we get fired on when people do stupid stuff,” he said.

Well done, Free Hugs Guy.