The actor said he was inside his Santa Monica home, watching ESPN in his basketball shorts, when he heard some commotion in his backyard. at first, Rhames thought it was just his bulldog puppies running around, but then he heard a knock at the front door.
"I get up, I open the door and there's a red dot pointed at my face from a 9-millimeter [gun], and they say, 'Put up your hands.' Literally," Rhames said.
The "Mission Impossible" star explained that the police officers instructed him to open up the screen door with one hand and walk outside. In addition to the officer with the gun pointed at him, two other officers were on hand, including one with a police dog and the captain. The captain recognized Rhames.
"The captain of police -- and you can check with the Santa Monica Police Department -- he recognized me because my son played against his [son's] school," Rhames said. "They apologized and what have you."
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Rhames said he then asked the police why they were at his home. The officer told them that a woman in his neighborhood called and said a "large black man" was breaking in. "He said to me, 'A woman called 911 [and] said a large black man was breaking into the house,' and so they came," Rhames explained, adding that the neighbor later denied making the call.
A spokesperson for the Santa Monica Police Department confirmed to TooFab that they investigated a burglary involving an "African-American male" at Rhames' home in July 2016, adding that the incident was over "fairly quickly" when they realized there was no break-in.
"Here I am in my own home, alone in some basketball shorts, just because someone called and said a large black man is breaking in," Rhames said. "When I opened up the wooden door, a 9-millimeter is pointed at me."
Rhames also said he couldn't imagine what could have happened had his son Freedom, 16, been there.
"My problem is what if it was my son and he had a video game remote or something, and you thought it was a gun?” Rhames said to Cane. "Just like, I don't know, Trayvon had a bag of Skittles."
The Santa Monica Police Department spokesperson also told TooFab the incident was one of several that contribtued to the launch of a "Meet Your Neighbors" program in January 2017, noting that "that many residents do not know their neighbors." A press release for the initiative added, "Our challenge to the community is to step out of their comfort zone and get to know the people on their block – their neighbors."