Despite a negative interaction with police last week, Chris Milton said things ended on a positive note.
Milton, a Clovis businessman and civil rights activist, visited Athens, Georgia last week, home of the University of Georgia — where his son Kendall is a freshman running back on the vaunted Bulldogs football team.
While spending a night on the town, Milton was stopped by police, which led to a verbal confrontation.
After what was ultimately a case of mistaken identity, Milton met with the Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Cleveland Spruill and smoothed things out.
“The beauty is that a relationship has been fostered and I am looking forward to partnering with them,” Milton told GV Wire. “Everything happens for a reason and when cooler heads prevail, God usually reveals the purpose.”
Police Stop Milton
According to a statement, the ACC police received a call of a suspicious person in downtown Athens.
“The caller stated a black male wearing red shorts and a white tank top was yelling at a female,” ACC spokesman officer Kenneth Brooks said.
Police spotted Milton, also wearing similar clothing. Milton says at the time, he was taking a picture with a Bulldog fan.
“Mr. Milton became upset and very boisterous with the officers and a supervisor stepped in to try and mediate the situation,” Brooks said.
Later, police found the man they were looking for — not Milton.
“That officer informed the supervisor that Mr. Milton was not the person involved. Mr. Milton was clearly upset about the encounter and voiced his concerns over social media,” Brooks said.
Milton did not want to discuss the specific incident afterward, but on Twitter wrote:
“2 b out last night n Athens and have a 2 police officers tell u that u are acting suspicious and “fit the description” and next thing you know you’re in the middle of a confrontation with a corporal and LT.. Then they found out my last name. THIS CRAP HAS GOT TO STOP!”
🤬.. 2 b out last night n Athens and have a 2 police officers tell u that u are acting suspicious and “fit the description” and next thing you know you’re in the middle of a confrontation with a corporal and LT.. Then they found out my last name. THIS CRAP HAS GOT TO STOP! 🤬
— Chris Milton (@fatherofballers) June 12, 2020
Meeting with the Police Chief
Later on June 12, Milton met with Athens-Clarke County’s police chief.
“The Chief of Police, Cleveland Spruill, personally met with Mr. Milton and discussed the situation and how the incident could have been handled differently by both the police and Mr. Milton. The discussion was productive and ended with mutual respect and understanding from both parties,” Brooks said.
Milton said he left the meeting with hope.
“It turned into a great opportunity for growth. After the incident, but not because of, I understand that for whatever reason there is a strained relationship between some of the citizens of the community and the police department,” Milton said.
He was glad the department make a commitment to build a relationship with the community.
“They are aware of the footprint that I have in my own community and my efforts to help bring about overall change. We have also made a commitment to partner together to help achieve that on a local level,” Milton said.
Sending his Son to Georgia
In a previous interview with GV Wire, Milton talked about sending his son to Georgia to play and live.
“Of course, there’s the South, right. That it has that connotation. It has that reputation, so on and so forth. One thing that really impressed us was our meeting with (Georgia football coach) Kirby Smart,” Milton said.
“He knew that this might be a concern. He addressed it inside of our recruiting meeting and told us about the temperament … told us how these people really embrace our athletes and they’re really about change and it really about continuity,” Milton said.
Milton said, from he’s seen, people from the South don’t like negative reputations about them.
“People from the South are just as pissed off as everybody else is,” Milton said. “They’re being lumped into the racist bucket. They don’t like that because there genuinely is not who they are,” Milton said.
On Twitter, Milton said that he felt race was not a factor in his police stop in Athens.
To be honest, while I could, I didn’t infer that it was a race thing. Honestly, all of that is a people thing. It’s not right to do people like that or put them in a situation where they have to defend themselves against absolutely nothing!
— Chris Milton (@fatherofballers) June 12, 2020
Milton said because of his son, he has a social media following from the Georgia fan base. He told GV Wire℠ last month they would have his back.
“White people are speaking out and saying, you know what, we hate this. This isn’t us. It has to stop. Whatever you need, I’m there. So people are getting vocal, man, which gives me goosebumps. People are getting vocal … and that’s what makes you hopeful,” Milton said.
Based on reaction to Milton’s tweets about his incident with ACC police, that fan base has been supportive overall.