Ving Rhames Says Police Held Him At Gunpoint In His Own Home After Neighbor Called To Report A Robbery

Don WrightAP Images

Actor Ving Rhames faces some terrifying moments after police officers responding to a call for a suspected robbery ended up holding the actor at gunpoint — inside his own home.

The incident happened earlier this year, but Rhames just opened up about it while appearing on the SiriusXM program The Clay Cane Show. As People magazine noted, the actor said he was sitting in his Santa Monica home in the middle of the afternoon when there was a knock on the door.

“I get up, I open the door and there’s a red dot pointed at my face from a 9-millimeter [gun], and they say, ‘Put up your hands.’ Literally,” Rhames said.

There was a parade of officers who came through the door, and one of them happened to recognize Rhames because their sons play against each other on opposing high school basketball teams, the actor recounted. The police told Rhames that a woman had called the police for a report of a “large black man” who she believed was breaking into the house.

Rhames then went across the street to confront the woman, who denied making the call. Rhames said the officers apologized to him, and a lieutenant with the Santa Monica Police Department told People magazine that there were several calls for what witnesses believed was a break-in.

“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,” said Lt. Saul Rodriguez. “As soon as we discovered it was Mr. Rhames, we de-escalated immediately and informed him what happened.”

Rhames’ story comes amid a number of other stories of people calling police on black people for seemingly harmless activities. One viral video earlier this summer showed a woman calling 911 on a black family having a barbecue in a public park, another called police on a black girl who opened a stand to sell water.

In another incident gaining viral attention this week, a Wells Fargo bank teller called police on an elderly black woman for trying to cash a check. The woman, a Ph.D. holder who was a former bank manager, even called the person who wrote the check to confirm that it was legitimate.

Ving Rhames said the incident left him scared for his safety and for his teenage son, Freedom, worrying what might have happened if police encountered the teen playing video games and thought he had a gun.