Tony Finau shares personal story of police brutality: 'My face was slammed up against the passenger door'
Tony Finau, inspired by the global protests against racial inequality and police brutality, took to Instagram to share his experience with both.
In an emotional statement, Finau, 30, said he’s grappled with the notion of whether to post or speak up, coming to the conclusion that the worst thing he could do is remain silent.
“Have I dealt with racism in my life as a person of color in this country? Yes. I’m not proud to say,” says Finau, who is Polynesian. “I have been disrespected and mistreated because of the color of my skin.”
Finau goes on to detail an incident in 2014. According to Finau, he was a passenger in a friend’s car. Finau’s friend, who is white, had a number of traffic tickets on his record. When the police pulled the vehicle over, Finau asked the officer what was wrong.
“With more intense words [the officer] told me to get out of the car,” Finau says, following that he cooperated with the request. “Within seconds, my face was slammed up against the passenger door, and I was in handcuffs. Shortly after, I was in the back of his car.
“To describe the feeling of injustice, unfairness at this time, and try to portray that to those that have never been treated this way ... it’s an inhuman feeling and wrong on all levels. It’s a criminal act for law enforcement to treat anyone this way, but especially those of color."
Finau goes on to say watching the death of George Floyd in police custody brought him back to his own incident. Finau remarked that as a person of color, he felt he could no longer stand by and let issues like this go unsaid.
“I voice my opinion because I stand with those that are for justice, for equality, and that against police brutality and anyone abusing their authority because the color of someone else’s skin,” Finau said. “I think there’s a way to move this country forward by understanding each other, listening to each, and to continue to spread love.”
Finau has represented the United States at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. He enters Colonial ranked No. 16 in the Official Golf World Ranking.