A white man says he ran 2.23 miles while holding a flat-screen television to show “that being a suspicious character isn't enough that someone should be shot down,” months after the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.
In a video that has gotten more than a million views on TikTok over the past few days, the man, Richard Demsick, could 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 TV, someone’s going to stop me now for sure cause, if not, what was the problem with Ahmaud?”
Arbery was 25 years old when he was fatally shot in February in Brunswick, Ga. His family said he had been out for a jog at the time and was unarmed. Father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested last week on charges of murder and aggravated assault.
They claim they followed and confronted Arbery because they thought he was a burglary suspect.
In an interview with Insider this week, Demsick said he was inspired to make the TikTok after learning of Arbery’s death, which has prompted outrage from a number of lawmakers and much of the public in recent weeks.
“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.
Demsick said most of the responses he has received from the video have been positive.
“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."
Demsick said he may post more content to bring attention to racial double standards in the country.
He told the outlet he also thought about making a video showing him pick a person’s lock, assuming he is able to get permission from a home owner, to see what reactions, if any, he would get from people nearby.
“Nobody would call the cops. We all know that if I looked different, that would be a very different story,” he told the outlet.