When cops are your boo: Running Man Challenge takes law enforcement by storm

© Victim Witness
It may be the longest-developing internet meme in history, but the Running Man Challenge has definitely caught on, especially with the law enforcement community. They’re dancing to compete with each other ‒ and to make inroads with those they serve.

The latest entry into the dance craze comes from the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office in Georgia. But the production is more akin to a Hollywood hit than an attempt by awkward, white-collar careerists to bust a move made popular in the mid-1980s.

On behalf of his office, County DA Danny Porter took up a challenge put to all Atlanta-area law enforcement by the Monroe Police Department to make their own version of the Running Man. Porter also starred as the judge in the nearly five-minute video that had to top the challenger’s.

For those who may have been living under a rock since the craze began this past winter, the Running Man Challenge requires participants do to a dance move popularized by Janet Jackson’s music video for “Rhythm Nation.” However, it’s set to a different tune from a decade earlier: 1995’s “My Boo” by the Ghost Town DJs.

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The first version of the challenge was posted to Instagram in January by user 11.oo7, who said the video had been inspired by another private user, Rah2bandz, according to Know Your Meme.

The dance took off thanks to the University of Maryland men’s basketball team, which is no stranger to viral videos. Inspired by their fans’ love of flash mobs, the Terrapins took the craze to the next level when players Jared Nickens and Jaylen Brantley posted various versions of the Running Man online in the midst of the March Madness tournament. Their videos caught the eye of talk show host Ellen Degeneres, who had them on her daytime program.

A video posted by Jared Nickens (@jnickens_) on

The challenge aspect began when former Maryland player Seth Allen, who had transferred to Virginia Tech, recorded a response video. The Villanova Wildcats, the current NCAA basketball champions, also took a stab at the move.

The craze appears to have become the purview of the law enforcement community since then, however. Departments across the country ‒ not only those in the Atlanta area ‒ have created videos of their own in order to present police officers’ more human side, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. And the humorous aspect doesn’t hurt, either.

“We hope that the community enjoys our response as much as the staff enjoyed the making of the video,” Candice Pitman, director of the Gwinnett County DA’s victim witness program, told the AJC.

This is not the first time police have used dance to build trust in their communities. In October, a Washington, DC police officer trying to disperse two groups of young people on K Street ended up in a dance-off when challenged by one of the teenagers to do the Nae Nae.