COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It began with a few thoughts recorded on his cell phone after being pulled over by a Lexington police officer. Now, Will Stack's observations on law enforcement, race and owning up to a mistake have been seen by nearly 90 million people worldwide.
"Suffice to say, it's been crazy," Stack said.
Stack was trying to make a turn in downtown Lexington last Wednesday when he was stopped by officer Daniel Smith. The officer, who is white, gave the 22-year-old African American Army National Guardsman a warning citation for illegal use of the median.
Stack said on Friday he realized he had made an improper turn, but after thinking about what he characterized as a cordial interaction with the officer, Stack recorded a two minute video and posted it.
He says at the time of the traffic stop, he had seen the cell phone video of the fatal shooting of 50-year-old Walter Scott by a North Charleston police officer.
However, the traffic stop in Lexington ended with a much better outcome.
"Nothing but polite when I went up there," Smith recalled. "Just like I said, as soon as I made contact with him, he really didn't say a lot. But I can recall, I explained to him why I stopped him and I believe his reply was just 'Yes sir.'"
Stack says that while that incident was shocking, he wanted to let others know that "it's possible for African-Americans to have respect for police officers and what they do."
Since we highlighted Stack's video, it has been viewed more than 32.2 million times. At last report, more than 89.3 million people had seen the post.
"I think it was Saturday night, I got a message from someone who said, 'Hey, just want to let you know your video is over here in Japan and it's going viral,'" Stack said. "That's awesome. He said, 'Yeah, my friend from Guam is the one who shared it and that's how I found it.' I've had people from Africa say, 'Yeah, you know, in the wake of everything that's happened, the positivity's great."
Stack understands there are some who say he's glossing over serious issues involving police brutality, but Stack believes he's trying to show a bigger picture.
"Instead of just being a person who voices the problem and not identifies there's a problem, I'm trying to say, 'Hey, let's try to fix this. Let's try to figure this out together. Let's work together to try to brainstorm and come up with a long-lasting solution,'" Stack said.
Stack told us Monday he's "still in shock" over the response and thankful that his message has gotten out. He also says he's been approached by several people with job offers.