America is facing a reckoning on racial justice after George Floyd, a black man, was wrongfully killed by police in Minneapolis. This week, one of the Twin Cities' most memorable athletes in recent memory, Torii Hunter, proved with a personal and emotional story that even famous professional athletes are not safe from racial profiling by the police.
Hunter's story -- while playing for the Angels, was held at gunpoint by law enforcement in his own home -- is incredibly impactful because it shows not only the willingness of police officers to pull and threaten to use their guns, but also how little one particular officer seemed to care about the impact of his actions. When Hunter confirmed his identity, the officer had the audacity to ask him for free baseball tickets instead of apologizing for pointing a weapon at him on his private property.
This didn't happen when Hunter was some little-known minor leaguer, either. After a famous run with the Twins, he with the Los Angeles Angels from 2008–2012 and was an All-Star selection twice during that time. Despite claiming to be an Angels fan, the officer who came to Hunter's home somehow had no idea who he was at first glance, and was so skeptical of his identity that he needed to hold him at gunpoint until it was proven.
That's so, so wrong. And on another day, it could have turned deadly.
This story just emphasizes the systemic problems within American law enforcement. Hunter was lucky that he lived to tell the tale of his experience, because, as recent events have shown us, many black people aren't so lucky. On March 13, Breonna Taylor was shot by a police officer in her Louisville home. Atatiana Jefferson was shot by police in her home last October.
We applaud Hunter for sharing his story and for using his platform as a professional athlete to advocate against police brutality. All athletes, coaches and owners should be following his example and stepping up to fight for the rights of their black teammates and the vulnerable people in their communities.