R&B singer Mario said that even though a police officer recognized him during a traffic stop, he still feared for his life.
He spoke to the New York Post’s Page Six this week about the scary incident, which happened in Miami three months ago. Mario said that he was driving in a car with a friend who had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. His friend got into an argument with another man, who also was carrying a gun.
But the Baltimore native was able to calm both men down, and the other guy left. His friend’s daughter was sitting in the back seat the entire time.
“[My friend] pulled out a gun and so did the other guy, so I got out to defuse the situation,” Mario explained. “My boy got in his car, he put his gun in the armrest, and then he went to this building to use the bathroom and left the gun.”
The police arrived afterward because someone who witnessed the disagreement phoned them.
“So I’m in the car; the gun’s right there,” Mario explained. “Two cops came up to the car with their guns drawn, shouting. I forgot about the gun that was in the armrest, [so] when they asked me if there were any guns in the car I said, ‘No there’s no guns in the car.’ ”
Mario was then told to stay still and keep his hands up.
“So the cops say, ‘There’s a gun right there. Why did you lie to me?’ ”
Before Mario, 33, could fully explain that the gun belonged to his friend who was using the bathroom, one officer recognized him.
“Then this lady cop appeared and was like, ‘Wait, wait, wait. Aren’t you Mario?’” he said. “And I was like, ‘Yeah.’ But I forgot about being Mario at this point. I’m just like, ‘Please don’t shoot me.’”
“From there, she told the guys to put their guns down,” Mario detailed. “So yes, I’ve experienced racism, but I’ve also experienced privilege as an artist … As an artist, I will say we do have privilege … Whether it is sports, entertainment, we see power in all these different spaces, but with that also comes privilege.”
Other celebrities have shared their experiences with police since protests for racial justice began in the United States last month, with “This Is Us” actor Lonnie Chavis being one of them.
Chavis, 12, recently shared an open letter that he wrote, which detailed his experiences as a young person in America and a young Black actor in Hollywood.
In mid-June, Jay Pharoah provided a firsthand account of being mixed up by California police with a Black man whose description the officers said he fit.
A security camera captured the moment the former “Saturday Night Live” star was forced to the ground by four Los Angeles Police Department officers.
“It’s hot, corona is definitely something to be worried about at this moment,” said Pharoah. “The police officers they didn’t have on gloves, they didn’t have on masks. When they put me in cuffs, after they were all on me, [an] officer put his knee on my neck.”
He said he told the officers to Google his name so they could see they were making a mistake. The officers eventually were told the man they were looking for had been apprehended, and they apologized to Pharoah.