Police launch ‘Meet Your Neighbor’ campaign after Ving Rhames gets accused of burglarizing own home and held at gunpoint
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Ving Rhames’ recounting of a harrowing encounter with law enforcement has apparently prompted the Santa Monica Police Department to launch a new campaign.
Lasy week, Rhames opened up on The Clay Cane Show about an incident that happened when he walked into his home wearing only basketball shorts.
“I get up, I open the door, there’s a red dot pointed at my face from a 9-millimeter [gun], and they say, ‘Put up your hands.’ Literally,” he says. “It was a police officer with a 9 mm pointed at me, one officer behind him and two, I believe it was [to] the left of me was the captain of police [department], and another officer with a police dog. I get out and [one of the officers] recognized me.”
When they were able to confirm who the Mission: Impossible star was he received an apology. But that didn’t stop him from asking why the officers had showed up in the first place.
That’s when he was told a woman had called 911 and said, “a large Black man” was breaking into the house.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 30, 2018
But when both Rhames and one of the responding officers went to ask her about it, the neighbor denied her actions. Now the actor is understandably concerned about the safety of his high-school-aged son.
“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 [Martin] had a bag of Skittles,” Rhames lamented.
In response to the publicity this story has received, Saturday, Santa Monica Police Department released a statement on the incident, stating that as a result of the misreported burglary, it had launched the “Meet Your Neighbors” community program “designed to encourage neighbors to step out of their comfort zones and get to know each other over coffee, ice cream or block party. The Santa Monica Police Department encourages neighbors to become familiar with each other to avoid similar situations.”