Former Heisman Trophy winner and Miami Dolphins great Ricky Williams was stopped, frisked and questioned by Tyler, Texas, police earlier this month in the hotel parking lot where he was staying while attending an event for NFL Hall of Famer Earl Campbell.
Williams, 39, in town for the Tyler Rose Award, a local prize to the outstanding offensive player in college football, was forced by police to interlock his fingers behind his back and spread his legs while they searched him for a weapon.
A 7-minute and 21-second police dashcam video released by Tyler police shows an officer telling Williams they got a call from a resident behind the Marriott Courtyard where Williams was staying, saying someone had climbed a fence in his yard.
When Williams responds that he was simply going for a walk, one officer questions why he would walk behind the hotel before another says, “Here’s the deal. I know more than you think I know. You were in somebody’s backyard.”
“I just was going for a walk,” Williams says.
“That’s not an area to walk,” responds an officer.
Clearly frustrated at one point, the video shows Williams putting his hands on his hips while staring directly at the dashcam, then crossing his arms. Williams, who is black, is questioned by four white officers.
When an officer says, “You’re not in handcuffs, we’re just talking,” Williams responds, “Why would I be in handcuffs? I haven’t done anything.”
To which one of the Tyler police officers says Williams isn’t being treated any differently than if he was white or Hispanic.
Near the end of the video, Williams explains he’s in town for Campbell’s event. Then a cop pats him on the right shoulder and says, “Alright, man,” and they let him go.
Last week during an appearance on an Austin, Texas, radio show, Williams said he visited Tyler after an invite from Campbell to attend the awards ceremony. He said Campbell picked him up and drove him to the hotel with about four hours to spare, so he went for a walk.
A well-known pot smoker who left the Dolphins for a season to find himself — and also because their quarterback play was weak — Williams told radio hosts Matt Beardon and Dale Dudley, “Thank goodness I didn’t have anything on me. Otherwise, the story would have been much different.”
Tyler is a town of about 100,000 people near Central Texas. Williams, a quirky and outspoken star even by NFL standards who is now appearing as a contestant on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, played for the University of Texas Longhorns from 1995 through 1998, winning a Heisman trophy awarded to the nation’s best football player along the way.
He had a lengthy NFL career. After being drafted by the New Orleans Saints, William spent eight years with the Miami Dolphins. Three times, he rushed for more than 1,000 yards.