Ving Rhames Recalls Being Held at Gunpoint by Police at His Home After A Neighbor Called in a Break-In by a 'Large Black Man'

Ving Rhames during Undisputed Premiere by Miramax Films at Mann Festival Theater in Los Angeles, California, United States.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz (FilmMagic, Inc)

Money doesn’t protect you from racism and actor Ving Rhames made that clear during his interview with SiriusXM’s The Clay Cane Show Friday. When asked about how racism impacts his life, Rhames discussed an incident in which his neighbor called the cops on him because she thought he was a robber.

“This happened this year. I am in my home, it was around 2:15 p.m. in the afternoon,” Rhames said. “I have a screen door at my Santa Monica place and and then I have a wooden door. I’m in my house. I’m in a pair of basketball shorts only. I have two English bulldog puppies. I hear a noise in my backyard, but I’m thinking the puppies are just running around, and then I get a knock on the front door.”

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When Rhames answered the door, he says he was staring down the barrel of a 9mm handgun.

“I open the door and there is a red dot pointed at my face from a 9MM. They say put up your hands, literally. I just walked and opened up the door ... Then they said ‘Open the front screen door.’ They say do it with one hand so then I have to do it with one hand. My hands are up and they have me outside,” Rhames says.

One of the officers, described as the captain, recognized him and told the other cops to stand down. Rhames said his son plays against the captain’s kids’ school. The officers apologized, but when Rhames asked why they were at his place in the first place, he was told that a woman called to say that a “large black man was breaking into the house. When Rhames and other officers went to the woman’s homeshe lives across the streetto ask why she called, she denied ever making the call.

“So here I am in my own home, alone in some basketball shorts, just because someone calls and says a large black man is breaking in, a 9MM is pointed at me. My problem is what if it was my son and he had a video game remote or something and you thought it was a gun?”

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As we’ve seen more and more instances of the police being called on black people for doing nothing more than the activities of daily living, some sort of legal and financial consequence needs to be implemented for wasting taxpayer dollars. Or something. It’s gotten entirely out of hand.

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About the author

Terrell Jermaine Starr

Terrell Jermaine Starr is a senior reporter at The Root. He is currently writing a book proposal that analyzes US-Russia relations from a black perspective.

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