Excessive Force: Story Behind Iowa Football Player Harassed By Cops While Playing Pokemon Go

Excessive Force: Story Behind Iowa Football Player Harassed By Cops While Playing Pokemon Go

He shared his terrifying story on Facebook.

Published July 24, 2016

Add "playing Pokémon Go while Black" to the list of reasons police apparently have for threatening a Black man's life. Iowa defensive end Faith Ekakitie took to Facebook to recount what he described as "the first time I've ever truly fears for his life" after local police put gun barrels to his face after approaching him while he was walking around a park playing the popular Pokémon Go mobile game.

Ekakitie explained that a nearby bank had been robbed and the suspect was identified as a "large, Black male who was dressed in all black and wearing something on his head." When police approached the football player, they barked orders, but because he had headphones in he did not hear them.

In the post, he explains the terrifying situation from his perspective. "My pockets were checked, my backpack was opened and searched carefully, and i was asked to lift up my shirt while they searched my waistband." He continued to say, "Not once did they identify themselves to me as Iowa City Police officers, but with four gun barrels staring me in the face, I wouldn't dare question the authority of the men and woman in front of me."

He then shows an incredible amount of empathy and maturity, telling the story from the officers' point of view.

Ekakitie admits that at one point he reached for his phone, and the officers could have easily thought he was reaching for a firearm and shot him, but they didn't. "Not all police officers are out to get you, but at the same time, not all people who fit a criminal profile are criminals," he said.

He continues to say, "It is extremely sad that our society has brainwashed us all to the point where we can't feel safe being approached by police officers in our respective communities." He even goes so far as to thank the very officers who held him at gun point. "I would like to thank the Iowa City Police department for handling a sensitive situation very professionally." Finishing his wonderfully written recollection with, "I am convinced that in the saw way that we learned these prejudices we can also unlearn them."

It shows an incredible amount of maturity and wisdom for a college student to be able to take a life-threatening experience at the hand of the police and turn it into a lesson, and a reason for hope. But that is exactly what Ekakitie did. 

Most importantly, he is safe, and we are lucky to read his story, and gain his insight.

Written by Evelyn Diaz

(Photo: Matthew Holst/Getty Images)


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