ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey man who interrupted a street fight between two teenagers in a video that has drawn millions of views and wide praise said Wednesday that he’s saddened that his act of peacemaking isn’t a more frequent occurrence.
“I’m crying because, this whole situation, it deeply saddens me,” Ibn Ali Miller said after being honored by Atlantic City’s council along with the boys. “It deeply saddens me, the fact that it’s unbelievable. This should be very believable, this should be a norm and this should be regular.”
The video had been viewed millions of times after being posted on Facebook on Monday. It starts with a fistfight in Atlantic City between two boys while others record it on their phones.
Miller then walks up, gets between the two and tells the onlookers that they’re cowards for recording the scuffle.
“Look, they laughing. Look,” Miller says while gesturing to the gathered crowd. “He’s got a big smile on his face. … He’s supposed to be your man.”
The stranger then tells the teens they are “almost men” and need to start acting like it.
Miller broke down in tears while thanking his mom, who stood beside him, in Atlantic City Wednesday night. He said that she forced him to read books and write a short story or poem each time he was punished as a child. He also thanked the mothers of the two boys, who stood next to him.
“They raised them to be young men of reason, which seems to be a very, very rare trait in today’s youth,” he said.
One of the boys, Jamar Mobley, thanked Miller for intervening and told CBS Philly that the fight could have gone “a whole other way” if Ibn Ali Miller hadn’t stepped in.
“He was minding his business and just came out of the car,” Mobley said. “He said I will not leave until you guys shake hands.”
Miller has drawn wide praise, including a message of support on Twitter from LeBron James, who saluted the man “who stepped in and spoke real to our young generation.”