Ving Rhames has revealed Santa Monica police officers held him at gunpoint in his own home, after a neighbor called to report “a large black man” had broken in.
The Mission: Impossible — Fallout star recalled the incident Friday when he was asked about racism during an appearance on SiriusXM’s Clay Cane Show.
Rhames said he was watching ESPN when he heard a knock on his front door.
“I get up, I open the door and there’s a red dot pointed at my face from a 9-millimeter, and they say, ‘Put up your hands.’ Literally,” he explained.
Rhames added that there were three officers, a police dog and a captain who recognized him because their sons play basketball together.
“They recognized me and apologized, and I said, ‘Why are you doing this?’ He said to me, ‘A woman called 911 and said a large black man was breaking into the house,'” he recalled.
The actor went on to say the neighbor who reportedly made the call denied it when they went to her house.
“My problem is, what if it was my son and he had a video game remote or something and [the police] thought it was a gun just like Trayvon [Martin] had a bag of Skittles?” he continued.
A Santa Monica Police Department lieutenant confirmed the incident with People magazine and said it occurred in July 2016.
“We got a call from several neighbors indicating that they thought what they were looking at was a burglary in the home and we responded within minutes,” Lt. Saul Rodriguez said. “As soon as we discovered it was Mr. Rhames, we de-escalated immediately and informed him what happened.”
Rodriguez added that a similar incident happened months later, involving a black woman who lost her keys.
The department has since launched a community program called Meet Your Neighbors, which urges residents to “step outside of their comfort zone and get to know the people on their block” through social gatherings such as block parties.