Baseball great Torri Hunter has recounted his frightening ordeal with police amid the unrest in America following the death of George Floyd.
Floyd died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed his knee into the 46-year-old African-American man's neck while he was handcuffed and saying that he couldn't breathe.
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Numerous prominent athletes, including NBA great Michael Jordan, Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo, have spoken out in recent days as anti-police brutality and anti-racism marches and rallies boiled over across the country.
And in a discussion with other retired African-American baseball players for The Athletic on Wednesday, Hunter recounted his own experience with the police.
Discussing baseball and racial issues with Doug Glanville, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Dontrelle Willis and LaTroy Hawkins, Hunter said he had a gun pointed at him when he set off the alarm at his house in LA in 2012.
”I went into my place, the alarm went off for a second and I cut it off. Maybe an hour later, I see cops at my door,” Hunter said on the Zoom conference call.
“I open my door and say, ‘Is everything OK?’ And they said, ‘Freeze!’ with the guns out. You know you’re coming to Torii Hunter’s house. You already know that!
“The young guy had his gun down, but the older guy had his gun, and a vein popped out of his neck. I’m on one leg. He said, ‘Sit the f*** down!’ I said, ‘Hey man, this is my house, calm down’.”
Shocking question officer asked Torii Hunter
The former Los Angeles Angels and Minnesota Twins outfielder said once he convinced the police that it was his house, one asked him for free tickets.
“The young guy is looking at me like, ‘I think I know this guy’. The other guy still had the gun. And he says, ‘Is anybody else in the house?’ I said, ‘No one else is in the house. This is my house’. I didn’t say nothing about baseball,” Hunter said.
“He walked me into the house with the gun in my back, to go upstairs to get my licence. And when I showed him my licence, the younger guy said, ‘I knew that was you’.
“The guy said, ‘Who is he?’ And he said, ‘He plays with the Angels’. Then this guy who had the gun on me says, ‘Oh, I’m an Angels fan. Can you leave me tickets?’”
Hunter regrets not taking further action
Hunter said he later received an apology but regrets not making a bigger deal of it at the time.
“I called Major League Baseball. They called, I don’t know, whoever. And the Newport Coast police called and apologised,” Hunter said.
“I didn’t want to make a big scene. My agent said don’t make a big scene. My front office with the Angels said don’t make a big scene. But it should have been a big scene!
“I didn’t have no video. Everything is on video now. If I would have gotten shot, they would have come up with something and said I was agitating, angry.
“They can say anything, and guess what? I would have been dead. Because you thought I didn’t live there. Your mind went straight to criminal.”
Hunter documented the nasty ordeal on Twitter at the time.
My alarm went off in my house while I was in it. 20mins later I saw cops checking out the scene. Went outside and they drew there guns on me— Torii Hunter (@toriihunter48) April 4, 2012
They didn't believe I lived here in Newport coast so they walked me upstairs at gunpoint to get my ID.— Torii Hunter (@toriihunter48) April 4, 2012
When I showed him my ID, he said I'm an angel fan hope u guys have a great season. ARE U KIDDING ME!!!!!! Lol— Torii Hunter (@toriihunter48) April 4, 2012
It was my fault that the alarm went off anyways. I just thought it was cool to let u guys know my awkward moment for today.— Torii Hunter (@toriihunter48) April 5, 2012
Gunpoint might have been a little extreme. Just guns drawn pointing down.— Torii Hunter (@toriihunter48) April 5, 2012
Hunter won nine gold gloves with the Twins and was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame after retiring in 2015.
He made five All-Star appearances and also played five seasons with the Angels and two with the Detroit Tigers.