A black delivery driver and his coworkers were held against their will for nearly an hour by a white resident inside a gated Oklahoma City neighborhood.
After the senseless shooting of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, the prevalent racism against black people in the United States was criticized heavily. In addition to opening a slew of questions regarding racial profiling in this country, it also encouraged other victims of this awful treatment to share their heartbreaking experiences with the world. A black delivery driver and his coworkers were the recent recipients of this biased treatment. Travis Miller, who delivers furniture and home appliance, was brought to tears as he recorded himself being held against his will inside a gated Oklahoma City neighborhood for nearly an hour by a white resident who demanded to know the reason behind their visit.
Black folks live's are hard enough without people like this #RacistRand adding to our woes. "Did you make a wrong turn?" is code for , "what are doing here boy?" Those tears at the end, overwhelming emotion when he realizes he doesn't have to die for being #BlackInAmerica today.— Kellie Grady (@kgradyback2life) May 15, 2020
Miller immediately started a Facebook Live video and captured the terrifying incident which unfolded last Monday. The 37-minute video, which has since gone viral, enraged viewers who believed that the encounter was racially motivated. While speaking to NBC News, the 42-year-old man recalled that his customer Edmond had provided him the code to enter the neighborhood's gate. After completing the delivery Miller and his black co-worker were on their way out when a man, who identified himself as David Stewart and a board member of the homeowners' association, suddenly approached them and began questioning them about why they were on his street.
Man blocks black delivery driver in Oklahoma neighborhood.— Shomari Stone (@shomaristone) May 15, 2020
"My intention was never to go viral," Travis Miller said. "My intention was to cover myself in case he called my employer and said I did something other than what I did.": @janellefiona, @NBCNews.https://t.co/yI1HFpICjt pic.twitter.com/OHKLe5b57D
In the video, Miller was heard explaining that he was trying to make a U-turn and as he turned around his route was blocked by a white Subaru. "If I go around him, I'm going to have to drive on somebody's property and I don't want to make a bad situation worse," he was heard saying in the video, according to the outlet. After repeatedly asking the man to move his car, Stewart denied. "I'm not moving," the man was heard saying. "All you have to do is tell me where you're going."
In his uniform, in a truck emblazoned with the company name. What the hell did Stewart think he was doing?! If you don't want POC to have your gate code, pick up and install your own appliances. Fix your houses yourself. Do your own damn yardwork.— Resister from another mister (@kopntoutantalus) May 15, 2020
But Miller refused to tell him anything as he was not bound to do so. On Thursday, he explained that he remained inside the truck with his seatbelt on and recorded the whole incident to protect his colleague and himself. "My intention was never to go viral," said Miller during a phone interview. "My intention was to cover myself in case he called my employer and said I did something other than what I did." He feared that if the police were called, they would perceive Miller as the aggressor and so he didn't want the situation to escalate.
Thirty minutes had passed by and he was still not allowed to leave. Right then a second white male confronted Miller. "All we want to know is why you're in here and who gave you the gate code," said the second man. "That's all we need to know." When Miller refused to reveal his client's personal information, the man who identified himself as Stewart said he was calling the cops. At some point in the video, Miller breaks down into tears and can be seen wiping his tears with a blue bandanna before calling the police himself.
Stewart can then be seen calling the police to withdraw his report after getting in touch with Miller's customer. Miller shared that he also called up the police just to make sure that the man had actually withdrawn his report. His customer arrived at the scene, asked the men to move, before apologizing to Miller. "He said he was sorry it happened. He said those guys are overprotective of the neighborhood," explained Miller. On Friday, Captain Larry Withrow of Oklahoma City Police Department shared that officers did not go to the scene as the original caller who reported that "there was a trespasser in the subdivision," called back 25 minutes later and canceled the complaint.
Miller, who was wearing a uniform with his name written above the left breast pocket, said that his employer's name was on the driver's side and the passenger door as well as on the rear end of the vehicle. But he couldn't understand why the two men felt their behavior was justified. "I don't know what gave them that sense of entitlement and why they felt it was OK to block me in," he added. "I think things would have gone differently if I was white. His issue was with the people inside the truck," he said according to New York Post. This event comes during an already difficult time for Miller who recently lost his grandmother and an aunt a day apart.
However, Miller says he is taking comfort in the kindness shown by strangers on social media. "People of all races, shades of life, have either commented on the video, shared the video, or messaged me on Facebook and said, 'I don't know if you'll ever see this, but I want to applaud you for how you responded,'" said Miller. "It makes me feel good knowing that being humble and showing restraint touched many other people."