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Ving Rhames held at gunpoint by police in own home after neighbour reported break in by 'large black man'

'There’s a red dot pointed at my face from a 9mm, and they say, "Put up your hands"'

Tom Embury-Dennis
Sunday 29 July 2018 08:50
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Ving Rhames held at gunpoint by police in own home after neighbour reported break in by 'large black man'

Ving Rhames has revealed he was held at gunpoint by police officers in his own home after a neighbour reported a “large black man” had broken in to the property.

Appearing on radio station Sirius XM, the Mission Impossible star recounted the incident after being asked to describe his personal experiences of racism.

Rhames, 59, said his ordeal occurred one afternoon earlier this year while relaxing at his home in Santa Monica, California.

While watching TV in “a pair of basketball shorts only”, Rhames said he heard a knock. After opening his door, “there’s a red dot pointed at my face from a 9mm, and they say, ‘Put up your hands’.”

The Hollywood actor said he was taken outside with his hands up and surrounded by four officers – one a police captain - and a police dog. The situation was only defused, he said, when the captain recognised Rhames because their children played against each other in an inter-school sports competition.

The captain told Rhames they had received a call from a neighbour who reported a “large black man” was breaking into a property, the actor claimed.

Rhames, the captain and another officer went to speak to the neighbour who allegedly made the call, he said, but she denied it.

“So here I am in my own home, alone in some basketball shorts,” Rhames told the radio station. “Just because someone called and says ‘A large black man is breaking in,’ when I opened up the wooden door, a 9mm is pointed at me.

White man calls police on black woman after coupon incident

“My problem is, as I said to them, ‘What if it was my son and he had a video game remote or something and you thought it was a gun’, just like Trayvon had a bag of Skittles.”

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The Santa Monica Police Department has been contacted for comment.

Rhames’ ordeal comes amid growing anger in the African-American community over what many see as entrenched racism within US law enforcement.

In June, police in Arizona released a video showing officers beating an unarmed black man until he appeared to lose consciousness. In the same month, footage from Pennsylvania showed an officer taser in the back an unarmed black man who was sitting on a curb.

Trayvon Martin was killed in 2012 while visiting relatives in Florida. The teenager’s shooting sparked a national outcry and became a symbol of the violence routinely experienced by young black men in America.

Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted on self-defence grounds, despite the teenager being unarmed when he was shot.

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