A group of Tyler, Texas, police officers have been accused of racial profiling after stopping and questioning former football star and Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams.
Williams was in Tyler for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award ceremony when he decided to take a walk near the Courtyard Marriot where he was staying. When he returned, the Heisman trophy winner was approached by four police officers, stopped and questioned about a 911 call, reported The Telegraph.
The incident has become national news after the Tyler Police Department released dash cam and body cam footage Jan. 17. The officers involved have been subjected to heavy scrutiny after Williams claimed during an appearance the same day on Austin’s KLBJ that he was stopped only because he was Black.
After returning from his walk, Williams encountered four white police officers who were responding to a 911 call from a man nearby, according to CBS 19. The caller claimed there was a suspicious Black man in his backyard “wearing all black and crouched down behind his wire fence.”
In the video, viewers can hear one officer say “that looks like Ricky Williams” not knowing that it really was the famous former football player as they drove up.
Police get out of the squad car and asked Williams to put his hands behind his back. While there are only three officers in the frame, Williams told KLBJ DJs there were four.
For nearly 10 minutes, police searched and asked Williams where he walked, why he was walking, where he stayed and at one point an officer out of frame asked for Williams’ Social Security number.
“It was the middle of the day in the parking lot in the hotel,” Williams said. “They had me put my hands behind my back. They didn’t cuff me. They had me take everything out of my pockets and they started questioning me. I started to get upset. They told me to calm down. I said you don’t know what it’s like to be a Black man, and it’s not the first time [police have stopped him for no reason].
“I hope that after this situation, they realize that Black lives do matter. I’ve never wanted to say that, but this was a time where it fits,” Williams said. “It fits in Tyler in that moment.”