As stories of white people calling 911 on Black people for no reason continue to circulate on social media, actor Ving Rhames revealed that his celebrity status hasn’t shielded him from racial profiling — a neighbor called the cops on Rhames for simply walking into his home.
During a radio interview on Friday with Sirius XM’s “The Clay Cane Show” to promote the film “Mission Impossible: Fallout,” Rhames said Santa Monica police officers came to his residence earlier this year and held him at gunpoint.
“I go through the screen door, then the wooden door and into the house,” he explained. “I’m in a pair of boxing shorts only.”
He heard noises in his backyard, but thought it was his two English bulldog puppies “just running around.”
Rhames said he was watching television at the time when he heard a knock on his front door.
“I get up, I open the door, there’s a red dot pointed at my face from a 9 millimeter,” Rhames said. “And they say, ‘Put up your hands.'”
He said three officers, the police captain and a police dog, told him to keep his hands up and step outside.
“I get out [and] they recognize me,” Rhames said. “The captain of police, and you can check this with the Santa Monica police department, recognized me because my son played [basketball] against the school his kids went to.”
He said they apologized and explained that a woman who lived across the street had called “911 and said a large Black man was breaking into the house and so they came.”
The actor and two officers went to the neighbor’s home to ask why she called, but she denied it, Rhames said.
“Just because someone called and said a large Black man is breaking in, when I opened up the wooden door, a 9 millimeter was aimed at me,” he said.
Santa Monica is considered one of the top 10 wealthiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles County. The median household income is $82,123. It has just under 95,000 residents of which approximately 78 percent are white, 16 percent Latino, 4.1 percent Black, 10 percent Asian and less than 1 percent American Indian.
Rhames said in the interview that it could have been his son who answered the door. Like many Black fathers in America with sons, he’s worried about his safety in regard to police.
“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.”
Rhames mentioned that he is from New York and recalled an incident when there was a “young brother shot like 25 times and he was coming from, I think it was a bachelor party,” he said.
“It was Sean Bell, I believe,” Clay responded.
“There are so many incidents of where this happens,” Rhames said.