Columbus Crew midfielder Derrick Etienne Jr. was returning home from a workout Monday morning when, he said, he was stopped by police — twice. Etienne said on both occasions the officers suspected he had warrants for his arrest despite no evidence.
Etienne posted a message on Twitter shortly after the encounters, and on Thursday went on ESPN soccer commentator Taylor Twellman’s show “Banter” to call out what he believes was racial profiling by law enforcement.
A 23-year-old midfielder of Haitian descent who grew up in New Jersey, Etienne said he was driving to his apartment just northwest of Downtown when he was pulled over by a police officer and was told that he made an illegal turn.
Etienne said he kept quiet and complied with the officer, and that the officer told him his silence made him suspicious. Etienne said the officer then said, “You look like you have warrants. You don’t have any warrants, do you?”
“What exactly does a person with warrants look like?” Etienne asked Twellman.
Etienne said the officer went back to his car and then allowed Etienne to leave without mentioning the alleged illegal turn.
Less than five minutes later, Etienne said, he drove up to an officer standing in front of a barrier that was blocking his street because of nearby protests. When the officer saw him approaching, Etienne said the officer placed his hand on his semi-automatic rifle that he was wearing across his chest.
“Where are you heading?” the officer asked. Etienne told the officer where he lived, but the officer was suspicious because of the New Jersey license plates on Etienne’s car. The player explained that he recently moved to Columbus to play for the Crew, but said the officer told him he didn’t believe him.