Detroit Lions linebacker Trevor Bates, who was arrested in New York on Saturday after allegedly refusing to pay cab fare, “acted beyond that of a wild animal,” during the arrest, according to the NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA).
The SBA posted this account of the arrest on Twitter: “Trevor Bates acted beyond that of a wild animal. 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.”
SBA members are active and retired New York Police Department sergeants. According to its website, SBA members are “frontline supervisors in the world’s largest municipal patrol force.”
The SBA's choice of words has drawn criticism, including accusations of racism from civil liberties group Communities United for Police Reform.
"If the allegations against Bates, including not paying his cab fare are true, he should be held accountable. But the constant use by N.Y.P.D. unions of racist dog whistles to dehumanize and criminalize black communities must be condemned, and end,” Communities United for Police Reform director Joo-Hyun Kang told the New York Times.
Bates' agent, Jeff Jankovich, issued a statement on Monday, noting Bates' was still undergoing a mental health evaluation following Saturday's events..
"Following his incident in New York on Saturday, our client Trevor Bates was taken to an area hospital where he remains as he undergoes testing and a mental health evaluation," Jankovich wrote. "I have spoken with members of Trevor’s family and others close to him, all of whom have expressed deep concern that his behavior this weekend is not at all consistent with the man and friend we know him to be.
"Since entering the NFL in 2016, Trevor has demonstrated a genuine passion for serving his community in various charitable and outreach capacities" Jankovich wrote. "He understands the powerful platform that comes with being a professional athlete, and his actions this weekend are in no way a reflection of who he is as a person."
The Detroit News reported on Bates' work with Angel Tree, a group that facilitates children receiving Christmas gifts from incarcerated parents. Bates received a present from his father, who remains in prison, through the group as a child.
Jankovich also expressed sympathy for the officer who was struck by Bates during the post-arrest altercation. According to prosecutors, Sgt. James O’Brien suffered a concussion and required three stitches over his left eye.
"We take this situation very seriously and express concern for Sergeant O’Brien and the members of the New York City Police Department," Jankovich wrote. "At this time our priority is to ensure that Trevor receives the help he needs and that the privacy of the parties involved be respected until more information becomes available.”
Lions general manager Bob Quinn issued this statement Saturday after the arrest: “We are aware of the arrest of Trevor Bates earlier today in New York. We have not spoken to Trevor as of yet and are still in the process of gathering more information. The Detroit Lions will have no further comment at this time.”
Bates, 28, was on the Lions’ practice squad until October, when he was promoted to the active roster. He appeared in nine games, mostly on special teams, and made three tackles.
Bates was drafted by the Colts in the seventh round in 2016 out of Maine. The Lions are his fourth NFL team.