“I own 1/18th of what you’re sitting on.”
A tense standoff between a black delivery driver and white homeowners in an Oklahoma gated community was all captured on Facebook Live.
Travis Miller, who had just dropped off furniture to a customer, recorded the whole incident on his phone as he was held against his will for 30 minutes.
Miller, along with the many people who commented during and afterward, believe the incident was racially motivated.
The footage, shot on Monday, shows Miller trying to leave the neighborhood in his truck, but a resident has pulled in front of him, refusing to let him leave.
Miller, who is wearing a uniform with his name on it and driving what is clearly a large cargo truck, immediately begins recording.
The driver of the car gets out and identifies himself as David Stewart, claiming to be the HOA president, and demanding to know where Miller is going.
“It’s none of your business. I’m going out, that’s where I’m going,” he responds.
Despite pointing out he obviously had the gate code, which had been given to him by his customer, Stewart refuses to move.
“These are private streets, and I want to know where you’re going,” he tells him.
Miller makes light of the situation, calling Stewart “Napoleon”, “Mayor of the cul-de-sac” and — when a second homeowner joins the standoff — “Cagney and Lacey”, when engaging with them, but frustration starts to take hold.
“I’m trying to keep cool, I really am,” he says, his voice quivering as he tells a co-worker over the phone what is going on. “I need to calm down before the cops get here.”
When the second home owner — also white — arrives, Miller politely tells him he’s trying to leave.
“Why?” the man asks. “What were you in here for? Did you make a wrong turn into the neighborhood?”
“This is our street. This is a private street,” Stewart chimes in.
Despite telling Miller — who never unlocks his door or even takes his seat belt off — they had called the police, they never turn up.
“You do realize this is an unlawful detainment, right?” he asks them. “You have absolutely no reason and no right to hold me here.”
“I own 1/18th of what you’re sitting on,” Stewart replies.
The men demand to know who gave him the gate code; but as Miller explained to News 4 afterwards, he did not want to share his customer’s personal information.
Finally, after around 30 minutes, Stewart finally backs up and allows him to leave.
As Miller explains on the phone, he is afraid to drive off immediately in case the police turn up and it looks like he is trying to flee the scene.
Eventually the customer Miller delivered to calls him and apologizes for his neighbors’ behavior, saying they can be “very protective”.
Miller starts to get upset towards the end of his video, confessing “I’ve got a lot of things emotionally going on.”
As he explained to KOCO afterwards, he had recently lost three family members in the space of a month — and didn’t want to become a fourth.
“I knew if I get out this truck, no matter what happened, I would have been in the wrong,” he said. “I always say to myself, ‘I’m going to go home to my wife and my kids.'”