"Celebrity Apprentice" cast member Ricky Williams, a former NFL running back, says he was racially profiled and the victim of an illegal police search walking near his hotel in Tyler, Texas, earlier this month.
Williams said he was in town for an awards banquet when the incident occurred. Williams discussed the altercation during a radio interview with The Dudley & Bob + Matt Show on KLBJFM.
One of the officers even commented that the former Miami Dolphin "looked like Ricky Williams." Williams can be heard on the police video that captured the incident saying "I am Ricky Williams."
You can hear the entire radio interview here.
"We got to the hotel and there were four hours before an event so I decided to go for a walk. Right outside of the hotel there's a little wooded area so I started walking over there," Williams said. "There's houses not too far away and I heard a dog barking and I realized in that moment I'm a black man and I'm walking in the South and and there's a dog barking. I turn and head back toward the hotel and a police car pulls up toward me and I thought 'ok'"
Williams said the four officers questioned him and searched his pockets after asking him what he was doing in the area. Williams was not handcuffed during the incident, but detained and questioned for several minutes.
Williams said he started getting upset as the questioning continued.
"They said calm down. I said you don't know what it's like to be a black man. This is not the first time cops have harassed me when I haven't done anything," Williams said.
Tyler police released the following statement to KLTV.com regarding the incident.
"On Wednesday, January 11, 2017, at approximately 3:30 p.m. Tyler Police received a call from a resident in the 8200 block of Yale in reference to a suspicious person behind his fence line in his backyard. The caller stated that his dog was barking in his backyard as if someone was back there. The caller then observed a black male, wearing all black, crouched down behind his wire fence in a green belt area that backed up to the Courtyard Marriott.
"The homeowner made verbal contact with the subject who asked the owner if he was looking for his dog. The subject then continued a short distance to the north climbing over the fence into the Colonial Hills Baptist Church rear parking lot. After the subject left the area the homeowner called the police.
"While checking the area police contacted a construction worker with Saltgrass Steak House and were advised that a person matching the description had been seen in the area. The worker stated that the person picked up a tape measure and was going to walk off with it. He told the subject that the property did not belong to him and it was returned.
"Around 4 p.m. officers located a subject matching the description provided by the caller just north of the Courtyard Marriott. Officers conducted a short investigation in reference to the suspicious person call. During the course of the interview, officers identified the individual as Ricky Williams. After obtaining all of the necessary information officers completed the contact with Mr. Williams. No further action was taken by officers."
Williams did not indicate if he would pursue legal action against the police department.