A white man says he ran 2.23 miles while holding a flat-screen television in a now-viral TikTok video to show “that being a suspicious character isn’t enough that someone should be shot down,” days after the release of a disturbing video that captured the shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.
In a video that has gotten over a million views on TikTok over the past few days, Richard Demsick can be seen running with a television in hand through a neighborhood in Florida.
“All right, I’ve figured it out,” he says in the clip. “I got my hat on backwards, I’m shirtless, like I’m on some episode of ‘Cops,’ I’m running with a T.V., someone’s going to stop me now for sure, ‘cause, if not, what was the problem with Ahmaud?”
— Lena (@GoIdenMango) May 10, 2020
In an interview with Insider this week, Demsick said he was inspired to make the TikTok after learning of Abery’s death. Arbery was fatally shot in February in Brunswick, Ga. His family said he had been out for a jog at the time and he was unarmed. Father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested last week on charges of murder and aggravated assault. The pair claim they followed and confronted Arbery because they thought he was a burglary suspect.
“I just started crying when I just saw this poor young man running — as I have thousands of times in my life — get shot down,” he told the outlet.
Shortly after, Demsick said he came with the idea to “run with a TV to show that being a suspicious character isn’t enough that someone should be shot down.”
“Being a white person, that’s just not going to happen to me,” he said.
Demsick said he ran 2.23 miles on Friday in solidarity with other supporters of Arbery who ran the same mileage, which is symbolic of the day he died, Feb. 23, last week to honor his memory.
“People have been incredibly kind, undeservedly kind,” he told the outlet. “There are people who are daily working trying to correct the injustice. I just made a video.”