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Police Union Compares Arrested NFL Player to 'Wild Animal'

New York union being accused of racism over Trevor Bates tweet
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2019 2:46 PM CST
This June 4, 2018 photo, shows Trevor Bates of the Detroit Lions.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – After a Detroit Lions linebacker was arrested Saturday in Queens and allegedly punched a sergeant during the encounter, a New York City police union used controversial language to describe the situation on Twitter. "Trevor Bates acted beyond that of a wild animal," reads the tweet from the Sergeants’ Benevolent Association. "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." Many are now calling out the tweet as inappropriate, with the "wild animal" reference being called racist, the New York Times reports. Police were initially called because Bates, who is black, allegedly refused to pay the cab fare for a ride from Manhattan to his hotel in Queens.

The NFL player, 25, was arrested around 1:30am and taken to the 115th Precinct station, where he was to be given a desk-appearance ticket for fare evasion and released. But police say he got upset as officers were attempting to fingerprint him, leading to the alleged altercation. He was ultimately held on charges of assault, resisting arrest, theft of services, and obstructing governmental administration, and was admitted to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. "If the allegations against Bates ... are true, he should be held accountable," says the director of Communities United for Police Reform. "But the constant use by NYPD unions of racist dog whistles to dehumanize and criminalize black communities must be condemned, and end." And a co-director of the Justice Committee says such language leads to a culture in which non-white people are treated "as animals or worse" by police. The NFL tells CBS New York it is reviewing the incident. (Read more NYPD stories.)

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