Ordinarily, shaky footage of white police officers pulling their guns on a young black man isn’t exactly the sort of thing that ends with a round of applause and enthusiastic hugs for everyone involved. Not so, however, for Daiwon McPherson and Shawna Blackmon, whose bizarre wedding proposal has raised eyebrows across the internet.
In the video, a police squad car can be seen pulling into a Mobile, AL, gas station, where McPherson is standing among the pumps. Two white officers jump out of the car, guns drawn, and demand that McPherson—clad in motorcycle gear—get on the ground. As he complies, Blackmon (who identifies herself as McPherson’s wife) rushes in and attempts to deescalate the tense situation.
It’s then, kneeling on the ground with armed police shouting behind them, that McPherson reaches into his jacket pocket and produces a wedding ring, prompting shocked gasps and applause from the assembled onlookers who had presumably expected the worst.
Speaking with AL.com, McPherson—who is active in Mobile’s biker community—had arranged the proposal earlier that day with the two officers involved, and “they were all for it.”
And while some might question the wisdom—to say nothing of good taste—involved in staging a proposal involving armed police in a year that’s seen massive civil unrest after the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Keith Scott by law enforcement, Blackmon is unambiguously thrilled by her, uh, “unique” nuptial circumstances.
“I appreciate the way he did it,” she told AL.com. “Here we are, ending the year engaged!”