Iowa defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie (No. 56, above) nearly became a tragic combination of two of this nation’s hot button topics, according to a post on his Facebook page.
Ekakitie says he was in an Iowa City park playing Pokemon Go when officers approached him with guns drawn, suspecting him of being involved in a nearby bank robbery. Ekakitie wrote his profile — a large black man dressed in black clothes — led five Iowa City officers to approach him, but the Hawkeye defender did not hear their approach due to having headphones in his ears — which led the officers to draw their guns. Ekakitie wrote police searched him before letting him go.
“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,” Ekakitie wrote. “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.”
Iowa DE says he was held at gunpoint by police while playing Pokemon Go pic.twitter.com/7BHFQ4GT0p
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 24, 2016
Sgt. Jorey Bailey confirmed Iowa City offers stopped Ekakitie, and an Iowa spokesman confirmed Ekakitie’s version of events.
“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,” Ekakitie wrote. “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.”
A senior from Brampton, Ontario, Canada, Ekakitie recorded 13 tackles in 12 appearances last season.