Chula Vista man hugs police during North Carolina protests - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Chula Vista man hugs police during North Carolina protests

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Video of a man from Chula Vista, giving hugs in the middle of the North Carolina protests has gone viral.

Ken Nwadike, Free Hugs Project founder, says Wednesday night's protest was risky and difficult being on the front line fighting for peace.

"As you hear loud sounds and large crowds and trampling, probably one of the scariest situations I've been in," said Nwadike.

On his way for a motivational speaking engagement in Texas, the Chula Vista High School graduate Skyped with CBS News 8 from his hotel room, he says these tender moments are breaking through to people hurting and his hugs are spreading peace to protesters and police.

"It was really cool to see police in their full riot gear, 'hey do I get a hug?'", said Nwadike of an officer, "Of course you get a hug I don't discriminate who I share love with."

The video has more than 27 million views on the Free Hugs Project Facebook page and shows Nwadike hugging police, background noise is filled with profanities and confrontations with the peace advocate.

Soon after embracing police, protesters taunt Nwadike, they are standing against the North Carolina police killing of Keith Lamont Scott, an African American man.

"Haters are going to hate and huggers are going to hug, so I am just going to keep hugging people," said the Chula Vista man.

The marathon runner started the Free Hugs Project after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, with a camera and 'free hugs' sign he started spreading inspirational messages. He learned the world was still hurting and would give out free hugs during terrorists’ attacks, political and racial injustice protests. Now he has more than 835,000 likes on his Facebook page.

"I try to focus my message and my mission on how do we heal and unite," said Nwadike.

His message is resonating as the video shows a protester confronting Nwadike and moments later shaking his hand.

"You can get that quick turnaround just by engaging in healthy communication" said the Free Hugs Project Founder.

Nwadike travels the U.S. as a motivational speaker at universities and on Monday he will be speaking to police cadet graduation in Texas.

Scientists say hugs release Oxycontin which lowers the heart rate, blood pressure and levels of stress

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