A man named Lorenzo Adams was driving his car in Bennettsville, South Carolina the other day when he spotted a police officer playing football with some young kids. Adams stopped his car and decided to catch the “delightful interaction” on camera. On Tuesday, Adams shared the video on Facebook—where it went viral. ABC News reported that as of Thursday afternoon the video had had 4 million views.
In the video, police officer C.J. Mullinax can be seen playing football with kids on a field in a Bennettsville Housing Authority development area. On Thursday, Officer Mullinax told ABC News that what he was doing was “the kind of community interaction the chief preaches to the department every day, and he hopes the video will show the public not all cops are bad, while encouraging other police departments in strained relationships with their communities to follow suit.”
Heartening Video Shows South Carolina Cop Playing Football With Kids
Larry McNeil, the chief of the Bennettsville Police Department, told ABC News, “I believe you can do so much more chasing a kid while holding a basketball or football than chasing a kid while holding a baton or gun. I always tell my guys they can do more with what’s between their ears — their brain — than the holster on their side.”
McNeil also said that “he makes it mandatory for his cops to always go on walks in the town a few times a week and just spend time and catch up with the community.” He said that the police “also hold events such as neighborhood nights out, especially in housing development areas, where they’ll catch up and make hot dogs with adults and give out freebies to kids.”
Mullinax said he often goes over to areas with the worst crime to play basketball with kids there or talk to the adults and see how they’re doing.
Adams, who is a resident of Bennettsville, told ABC News that he was able to talk to Mullinax Wednesday night and thank him over the phone. Adams said, “These days, there’s so much negativity out there, and I just wanted to record it so Bennettsville could see we have good police officers here no matter what might be happening elsewhere.” He added, “[Mullinax] thanked me for taking it, but really, he’s the hero to thank — in addition to all the people who saw the same thing I saw and helped the video go viral.”
Three cheers for Police Chief McNeil and Officer Mullinax!