Pokemon Go game ends with four police guns pointed at his face


Faith Ekakitie, a football defensive end for Iowa State University. Photo / Facebook

Faith Ekakitie, a football defensive end for the University of Iowa,
described in harrowing detail an encounter he had with police as he
played Pokemon Go in an Iowa City park last week.
This story, sobering as it is, ended not in tragedy, but with Ekakitie thanking police.
was the first time I’ve truly feared my life,” the 23-year-old wrote on
Facebook, “and I have the media to thank for that.”
The 1.92m,
130kg athlete wrote that he was “happy to be alive” after five police
officers stopped him and pointed four guns at him because he fit the
description of a man who had just robbed a bank.
At a time when
police shootings of black men are under scrutiny, Ekakitie described the
encounter from his perspective and tried to look at it through the eyes
of police, too.

“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
“From the police officers’ point of view, all they knew was
that a bank had just been robbed less than 10 minutes ago. The suspect
was a large black male, wearing all black, with something on top of his
head and the suspect is armed. As they drive past an Iowa City park that
was less than three minutes away from the bank that was just robbed,
they notice a large black man, dressed in all black, with black goggles
on his head. They quickly move to action and identify themselves as the
Iowa City police and ask me to turn around and place my hands up. I do
not comply, they ask again, and again no response from me. So they all
draw their guns and begin to slowly approach the suspect.”
wrote that he did not immediately respond to officers because he was
wearing headphones and they approached him from behind. He was, he
realised, in a situation in which “things can go south very quickly”. He
“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 Pokemon Go. The suspect didn’t realise 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, and I do now realise, that it very well could
have been me, a friend of mine, my brother, your cousin, your nephew
etc. Misunderstandings happen all the time and just like that things can
go south very quickly. It is extremely sad that our society has
brainwashed us all to the point where we can’t feel safe being
approached by the police officers in our respective communities. Not all
police officers are out to get you, but at the same time, not all
people who fit a criminal profile are criminals.”

would urge us all to at least to attempt to unlearn some of the
prejudices that we have learned about each other and now plague our
minds and our society

Faith Ekakitie

Jorey Bailey, a sergeant with the Iowa City police, told the Des Moines Register
that the armed robbery had occurred less than a block from the park and
that, because Ekakitie matched the description of a large black man in
black clothes and did not respond, it was “reasonable” for officers drew
their guns. He told ESPN that the officers were in uniform, not
undercover, and told SB Nation that more information would be
forthcoming in the next few days. An Iowa spokesperson confirmed for
ESPN that the Facebook account and its contents were Ekakitie’s.
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,” Bailey
Ekakitie urged people to be aware of their surroundings and
to “unlearn some of the prejudices that we have learned about each
“I would like to thank the Iowa City Police department
for handling a sensitive situation very professionally. I would also
urge people to be more aware of their surroundings because clearly I
wasn’t. Lastly, I would urge us all to at least to attempt to unlearn
some of the prejudices that we have learned about each other and now
plague our minds and our society. I am convinced that in the same way
that we learned these prejudices, we can also unlearn them.”

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