Iowa Hawkeyes defensive tackle Faith Ekakitie is the latest person to have the experience the newly popular mobile video game Pokémon Go as a drastic swing from fun to life-threatening after being mistaken as a robber. And this time it's at the hands of police.
According to the Des Moines Register, Ekakitie was reportedly stopped by Iowa City police at a town park where was playing the game. As he wore his headphones and reportedly didn't realize the officers' initial call to identify him as they trailed him, police drew their guns and approached Ekakitie to stop moving.
Ekakitie detailed in a Facebook post on Wednesday that the four officers told him they had to comb the area for a suspect of a bank robbery who had fled nearby after the heist. The 6-foot-3, 290-pound senior defensive lineman also stated that the description of the suspect was reported to the police department as a large black male wearing all black. Apparently, Ekakitie's clothes matched the description. The Iowa Hawkeyes team colors are black and gold, but there are no details of whether or not he was sporting the team's predominate black gear on at press time.
You can read about Ekakitie's frightening experience below:
"My pockets were checked, my backpack was opened up and searched carefully, and I was asked to lift up my shirt while they searched my waistband. 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. This is what happened from my point of view.”
“In this situation, what the media would fail to let people know is that the suspect had his headphones in the entire time the Police Officers approached him initially. The suspect had actually just pulled up to the park because he was playing a newly popular Game called Pokémon Go. The suspect didn’t realize that there were four cops behind him because his music was blaring in his ears. The suspect had reached into his pockets, for something which was his phone, but for all the cops could have known, he was reaching for a gun. The suspect could very well become another statistic on this day."
“I am not one to usually rant on Facebook or anywhere else, but with all of the crazy things that have been happening in our world these past couple of weeks it is hard to stay silent. I am thankful to be alive.
Iowa Police's Sgt. Jorey Bailey said Sunday the crime scene was less than a block away from the park where Ekakitie was playing the game. "The bank robbery call came out, and then two minutes later officers saw this person less than a block away from the bank matching the description." Bailey said.
He added about the questionability of drawing guns on Ekakitie due to racial profiling: “I don’t think race played a factor in this, nor does it in circumstances like this because of the detailed description, the location given by the person and the short time span in which this all occurred.”
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