(WPTV/CNN) – A former pastor from Florida is going viral for his social experiment, in which he films himself running with a TV to comment on a double standard in America.
Richard Demsick of Vero Beach conducted the experiment in support for Ahmaud Arbery, a young black man who was killed while jogging in Georgia.
His 15-second Tik Tok video has 6.5 million views and counting. The caption on the video said “happy birthday, Ahmaud. Sad to me I ran to day with no fear in a similar neighborhood carrying a TV” with the hashtags #runwithmaud.
Demsick was upset about the Arbery case and wanted to make a point about social justice.
“This wasn’t a post that I intentionally thought ‘maybe this is going to go viral,” Demsick told WPTV.
Arbery, 25, was killed while jogging in February. The two men accused in the shooting told investigators they thought Arbery was a burglary suspect.
“I wanted to show people it wasn’t about whether you look like a criminal or not, and I knew I could run with a TV in this town in this neighborhood and nobody was going to stop me. These are neighbors that I don’t know. Nobody was like, ‘Oh, I wonder if I should call the police and see what’s going on with that guy.’ They were like ‘Hey good to see you random white guy with a TV in his hand running through the neighborhood.'”
Demsick told his parents what he was going to do the night before and their concern was not over his safety, but whether it would be construed as making light of Arbery’s death.
“Thankfully that was not how it was received at all. People got that I was touched by this and this is a tragedy,” Demsick said.
Since the video, some have reached out to invite him to have conversations about race.
“Black, white, no matter what, there is one God who loves us all and we need to come together as neighbors. With the disclaimer that some of our neighbors have unique problems that we don’t have to face,” said Demsick.
LATEST NEWS FROM WFLA.COM:
- Hundreds participate in birthday parade for 1-year-old Walmart shooting survivor
- STORM TEAM 8 FORECAST: Soggy Memorial Day across Tampa Bay
- Former US Rep. Allen West recovering after Texas crash
- White House goal on testing nursing homes unmet
- Deputies investigating after child drowns at Siesta Key beach