A local man’s unusual proposal video is continuing to spread across social media because of officers with the Mobile Police Department who helped set up the candid moment that initially appears to be an armed confrontation.
According to MPD officials, Daiwon Mcpherson approached the department about a week before he planned to propose to his girlfriend, Shawna Blackmon on Friday, Dec. 9. at a local gas station in Mobile, a bystander, in on the stunt, films it on a cellphone as a police cruiser pulls up to the scene and two MPD officers get out with stun guns drawn.
“Get on the ground. Get on the ground,” one officer says before instructing Blackmon to get a gun McPherson was said to be in possession of. “Does he have a gun on him? Get his gun.”
At that point, Mcpherson can be seen on the ground. However, as Blackmon reaches to get what she thinks is a gun, Mcpherson pulls out an engagement ring to the delight of several onlookers at the service station.
According to the original version of the video posted to Facebook, McPherson had come up with “a story behind all this” that he’d been telling his soon-to-be-fiance’ throughout the day leading up to the staged encounter — an elaborate plan the MPD had been in on for at least a week.
“We were aware of the video,” Public Information Officer Terence Perkins told Lagniappe on Monday. “Daiwon came into the office about a week beforehand, to see if we could help make this moment very special for him and his fiance.”
Perkins, who can be seen in the video, said the MPD took precautions to make sure everything went according to plan — informing others at the gas station, ensuring the officers’ stun guns were unloaded and alerting other, on-duty officers about that the situation in advance.
In previous interviews, Perkins said helping with Mcpherson’s proposal was an example of “positive example of community outreach” for the MPD, and based on the video’s exposure, there’s no doubt that the video resonated with people in Mobile and around the country.
Since it was posted Friday evening, the initial video has been shared more than 170,000 times and has garnered more than 10 million views, though the number of people who have actually seen the video is likely much higher because a number of duplicates of the video are still being circulating on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
As is often the case, though, social media users have had mixed reactions. While some have called the proposal “sweet” and “romantic,” others have had issues with police participating in a video that starts out like a number of controversial police shootings that have been captured on camera in recent years.
On Monday, Lagniappe was initially unable to confirm whether the MPD’s leadership, Mobile Police Chief James Barber or Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson were aware that officers would be participating in the video ahead of time. Calls to the MPD and Stimpson’s administration have so far gone unanswered.
In the meantime, though, Mcpherson is continuing to enjoy the spotlight with his bride-to-be, according to his posts on Facebook. The couple has already been given a number of opportunities to be interviewed by national print and television outlets.