Detroit Lions linebacker Trevor Bates was arrested early Saturday morning in New York for allegedly not paying his cab fare. And reportedly during and after his arrest, Bates was violent and even punched an officer.
But a New York police union’s characterization of Bates’ behavior has now drawn criticism.
The Sergeants Benevolent Association, which claims to be made up of more than 13,000 active and retired NYPD sergeants, posted a message on Twitter in response to the Bates arrest.
“Trevor Bates acted beyond that of a wild animal. He refused to be fingerprinted, showed disdain for the officers & decided to punch a Sgt in the face. Fighting with officers he was tasered & ripped the taser prongs from his body. He’s dog crap and the NFL condones criminals,” the social media message reads.
Joo-Hyun Kang, the director of Communities United for Police Reform, told the New York Times that the union’s comments about Bates are racist.
“If the allegations against Bates, including not paying his cab fare are true, he should be held accountable. But the constant use by NYPD unions of racist dog whistles to dehumanize and criminalize black communities must be condemned and end,” Kang said.
Bates, 25, was arrested around 3 a.m. Saturday after a $32 cab ride from Manhattan to his hotel near LaGuardia Airport, the New York Times reports. According to the Twitter account Blue Lives Matter — which represents retired New York police officers — Bates punched an officer while being booked, opening a wound on the officer’s face that required three stitches.
Additional officers were called to help secure Bates, who was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center in Elmhurst, N.Y., for a psychiatric evaluation, according to the New York Post.
“We are aware of the arrest of Trevor Bates earlier today in New York,” Lions general manager Bob Quinn said in a statement on Saturday. “We have not spoken to Trevor as of yet and are still in the process of gathering more information. The Detroit Lions will have no further comment at this time.”
The SBA president, Ed Mullins, released a statement, according to the Times, saying the Lions should cut Bates. He said the claim of racism in the tweet “is nonsense and an accusation probably designed to change the topic
“Those making the accusations better do their homework as to the facts and not a smear campaign,” he said to the Times.