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Retired police officer says 'brother in blue' code likely to blame for George Floyd's death.

Omar Delgado, a first responder at the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in 2016, still grapples with the nightmare. As shots were fired then, Delgado quickly moved bloodied victims outside. As he took cover, the firing continued. There were lifeless bodies everywhere. One of the survivors he helped was Angel Colon, who was shot six times. The two made headlines everywhere. I even interviewed them back then.

But despite Delgado's heroic actions, he was fired from the Eatonville, Florida police force the following year after developing post-traumatic stress disorder from the massacre—six months before his vested pension. He filed a lawsuit against the department, and he was eventually granted disability retirement, which was 42% of his $38,500 salary. Nowadays, former officer Delgado can't believe what our world has come to. In some ways, he says, things have become progressively worse.



Protesters are breaking windows, igniting fires and vandalizing properties in Minneapolis over the killing of George Floyd, who is a black man. A video surfaced of him struggling to breathe while the knee of a white police officer was pressed against his neck. You can hear Floyd repeating "I can't breathe," also voicing that he's about to die. Finally, when the officer released pressure, you can see Floyd's limp body on the pavement. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. "It's horrific. He couldn't breathe. It's not like he was tugging or fighting. It was extremely unnecessary," says Delgado. "My heart goes out to the family and his friends. To see that situation, it's just really, really bad."

Delgado wants people to know that not all officers are like Derek Chauvin. He believes those four officers that day put a bad name to the badge. "As a former police officer, and I'm Puerto Rican, it's frustrating and it's sad. But I wish people would not think every officer is the same way," he says. "I know there are officers out there right now who are thinking, 'I have to get up, I have to put this uniform on. I have to serve and protect, but you know what? I'm going to get shit for it because of them.'"


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Delgado mentions most things had to do with race when he was an officer. When they would call in, the first thing asked was the ethnicity of the driver. "I don't know why they were doing that. They always wanted to know. But why? I never understood," he says. "It really didn't matter what race they were."

During training, Delgado was always taught to subdue and contain the suspect. Once the person was in cuffs, the officer gauges if the individual is a threat. Sometimes they'll kick or spit, but Delgado doesn't believe there is ever a time an officer should use brutal force if a suspect is contained. "In my opinion, what should that officer have done? Once [Floyd] was on the ground and already contained, the officer should have picked him up and put him in the car. He shouldn't have been on him like that. It's absurd."

But Delgado feels training only goes so far. "We are in 2020 and I don't think it will ever get better. It hasn't happened yet. There will always be that persona of police brutality or injustice or something you think an officer should have done it differently. I still would love to know what [Chauvin] was thinking that moment. It doesn't make sense. And sadly, the man lost his life."
As for the other officers, Delgado thinks the "brother in blue code" may have applied here. "Those three other officers did not come to their senses and say, 'Enough is enough.' "There is this thing where they have the officer's back no matter what. But look what happened. They lost their jobs. They could have said, 'Stop, enough,' he says. "They didn't. It's terrible."

He admits that the brother in blue code of always having the back of another officer is a real thing, but common sense is more important. "Some officers don't have it. It doesn't look good. Those are the ones who shouldn't be officers," he says. "There was no need to be the tough guy, the macho man. The officer probably thought if he backed down, he would show weakness. Having weakness out on the streets as an officer is bad. But they should have shown brotherly love and professionalism. How many poor black people are treated like that on a daily basis? How many poor white people are treated like that? It happens a lot. This should be an eye opener."

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After the 2012 Trayvon Martin case, where an unarmed, black 17- year-old was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida, Delgado believes that's when police officers got a really bad reputation. The ensuing trial in 2013 acquitted George Zimmerman of second degree murder, which sparked national debate around gun violence and racism. "All these officers were then beating up black people. I couldn't believe it," says Delgado. But then the Pulse shooting occurred, he says, and people looked at the officers as heroes, and put them in a better light. Now, he believes, things have come full circle. "But that doesn't mean people should be looting, trashing and destroying other people's property," he says. "Why are they doing it? They're upset. They should be. I get it. But why damage other people's property that has nothing to do with it? I don't think that's the right way to voice an opinion."

Delgado isn't shy to voice his own opinions either. "It shouldn't be about race, but it's hard to paint that picture when you see what you see. But right away, everyone wants to put a title on racism," says Delgado. "Yes, it is a white officer and a black victim, but that's what makes it look like race. But if it's the opposite, do they ever smash out the race card? Are they in a hurry to pull out the race card if it was a black officer and a white victim. Would they? If it was hispanic, or asian, or another race? To me, it's a crime on an individual and a person."

Delgado was also labeled as a racist while he was an officer in his predominantly black town in Eatonville. "I've never been somebody who plays the race card. My grandfather was blacker than black. My mom is whiter than white. I never saw color. If you look at the history of Puerto Ricans, we are mixed with a whole bunch of people and race. People used to say, 'You're racist.' And I'd say, 'Really? I'm Puerto Rican.' Then I was fine," he says.

But people were quick to put labels on him, telling him that he was racial profiling. "I would say, 'Are you serious?' The whole town is almost black!'" he quips." Second of all, if I pulled that vehicle over, I sometimes can't tell who is even driving, since the windows are tinted. I pull over a vehicle at a high rate of speed. People are quick to lash out. But it doesn't mean I'm going to treat anyone differently. I'm going to treat everyone with the respect they deserve."

The best word to describe how Delgado is feeling lately is numb."I know how bad the world is through my own experience, witnessing all of it first hand. What gets me is that people are not learning from what's going on. You would think after all these incidents that have been happening, there would be more training to officers."

But the real question is how do things change?

"There are a lot of black chiefs of police out there. Do you start off at the top and give them more jobs? I don't know if officer [Chauvin] acted that way because [Floyd] was black. What I do know is the way that officer acted was totally unacceptable. He was wrong at every level," he says.

Delgado believes officers aren't protecting only whites or only blacks. They are protecting the community. When things like this happen, he realizes that the public has a difficult time trusting police again. "That is the most challenging part. You respect the profession because you know what they are there for, but when the profession fails you, that is a tough pill to swallow. I don't have all the answers, but I do know things need to change."

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The last thing children should have to worry about is where their next meal will come from. But the unfortunate reality is food insecurity is all too common in this country.

In an effort to help combat this pressing issue, KFC is teaming up with Blessings in a Backpack to provide nearly 70,000 meals to families in need and spread holiday cheer along the way.

The KFC Sharemobile, a holiday-edition charitable food truck, will be making stops at schools in Chicago, Orlando, and Houston in December to share KFC family meals and special gifts for a few select families to address specific needs identified by their respective schools.

These cities were chosen based on the high level of food insecurity present in their communities and hardships they’ve faced, such as a devastating hurricane season in Florida and an unprecedented winter storm in Houston. In 2021, five million children across the US lived in food-insecure households, according to the USDA.

“Sharing a meal with family or friends is a special part of the holidays,” said Nick Chavez, CMO of KFC U.S. “Alongside our franchisees, we wanted to make that possible for even more families this holiday season.”

KFC will also be making a donation to Blessings in a Backpack, a nonprofit that works to provide weekend meals to school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry.

“The generous donations from KFC could not have come at a better time, as these communities have been particularly hard-hit this year with rising food costs, inflation and various natural disasters,” Erin Kerr, the CEO of Blessings in a Backpack, told Upworthy. “Because of KFC’s support, we’re able to spread holiday cheer by donating meals for hunger-free weekends and meet each community’s needs,” Kerr said.

This isn’t the first time KFC has worked with Blessings in a Backpack. The fried chicken chain has partnered with the nonprofit for the last six years, donating nearly $1 million dollars. KFC employees also volunteer weekly to package and provide meals to students in Louisville, Kentucky who need food over the weekend.

KFC franchisees are also bringing the Sharemobile concept to life in markets across the country through local food donations and other holiday giveback moments. Ampex Brands, a KFC franchisee based in Dallas, recently held its annual Day of Giving event and donated 11,000 meals to school children in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

If you’d like to get involved, you can make a donation to help feed students in need at kfc.com/kfcsharemobile. Every bit helps, but a donation of $150 helps feed a student on the weekends for an entire 38-week school year, and a donation as low as $4 will feed a child for a whole weekend.

Celine Dion spoke directly to her fans on social media.

Celine Dion has shared the devastating news that she has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome.

In an emotional video to her fans, the 54-year-old French-Canadian singer apologized for taking so long to reach out and explained that her health struggles have been difficult to talk about.

"As you know, I have always been an open book, and I wasn't ready to say anything before. But I'm ready now."

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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

This week's finds include an adorable baby's first 'Dada,' an appreciative delivery driver, an angel rocking out to 'O Come, All Ye Faithful' and more.

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy.

Ho ho ho, happy humans!

It's that time of the week again, when we gather together the most smile-worthy tidbits of the past seven days and share them with you all. As the lucky person who gets to wrap them up in a nice, shiny, virtual bow, I'm delighted to tell you that this week's list is awesome. They always are—that's kind of the point—but this week I can practically guarantee you're going to be brimming with joy by the end.

Right out of the gate, we've got baby giggles. I mean, come on. Who can resist baby giggles?

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Tenacious D performs at the Rock in Pott festival.

The medley that closes out the second side of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album is one of the most impressive displays of musicianship in the band’s storied career. It also provided the perfect send-off before the band’s official breakup months later, ending with the lyrics, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

In 1969, “Abbey Road” was the last record the group made together, although “Let it Be,” recorded earlier that year, was released in 1970.

At first, the medley was just a clever way for the band to use a handful of half-finished tunes, but when it came together it was a rousing, grandiose affair.

Arranged by Paul McCartney and producer George Martin, the medley weaves together five songs written by McCartney, "You Never Give Me Your Money," "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight” and "The End," and three by John Lennon, “Sun King," "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam."

Fifteen seconds after the medley and the album’s conclusion, there is a surprise treat, McCartney’s 22-second “Her Majesty,” which wound up on the record as an accident.

Jack Black and Kyle Gass, collectively known as Tenacious D, recently reimagined two of the songs in the medley, "You Never Give Me Your Money" and "The End," for acoustic guitars for a performance on SiriusXM's Octane Channel. Like everything with Tenacious D, it showed off the duo’s impressive musical chops as well as their fantastic sense of humor.

The truncated version of the medley was also a wonderful tribute to the incredible work the Beatles did 53 years ago.

Warning: This video contains NSFW language.

Moms don't have to be hard to shop for. Here are gifts she'll love.

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Every year, moms put on their elf hats and become Santa's helpers. They shop for and wrap the family's presents, cook the holiday meal, organize the crafts and even set out cookies for the big guy. They're so busy making the holiday season magical for their family that oftentimes they don't get any time to rest.

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