A reported family dispute over religion seems to have resulted in former Green Bay Packers defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila nearly getting arrested at a church during a Christmas pageant, and two of his friends being actually arrested, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette.
The incident reportedly occurred Tuesday night at Assembly of God Church in Green Bay, where Jordan Salmi and Ryan Desmith’s attendance resulted in a trespassing complaint to police.
Salmi and Desmith reportedly refused to leave and were subsequently arrested for trespassing. Both were then found to be carrying concealed weapons without permits, and now both face charges of carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a dangerous weapon at a school. Gbaja-Biamila avoided arrest by agreeing to leave when asked.
The reason for the trio’s attendance wasn’t clear at the time, but it seemed to take shape later in the night when Gbaja-Biamila posted a 30-minute YouTube video. He reportedly claimed he sent Salmi and Desmith to the church to videotape his sons’ performance in the Christmas pageant, participation which he did not seem to approve of.
He reportedly claimed Salmi and Desmith were at the church peacefully and didn’t cause a disturbance, only for police to handcuff them. Gbaja-Biamila said he later paid $2,000 to bond them out of jail.
From the Press Gazette:
“I ended up on the scene trying to get my brothers out of the predicament, and they ended up trying to arrest me,” Gbaja-Biamila said. “Three officers put their hands on me and tried to put the cuffs on. I told them I do not consent, that I need a warrant and a probable cause. And — listen to this — they literally wanted to put me in handcuffs for looking at their badges and supposedly because I was looking at one of their guns.”
The reason for Gbaja-Biamila’s hostility toward his children’s participation in the pageant seems to be rooted in a religious dispute with his estranged wife, calling the pageant a “pagan event” and saying his sons are “committing sin by following her rather than him, per the Press Gazette. Gbaja-Biamila is reportedly affiliated with the Straitway Truth Ministry, which calls itself a nation of Hebrew Israelites.
“They got my sons — my property — doing pagan worship, and I told them I forbid it, and they dishonor me and say it’s OK for my sons to dishonor their father,” he said. “They used the sons, the children, to oppress the man, and the woman rules over them, so that the man walks in error.”
Gbaja-Biamila is the Packers’ No. 2 all-time sack leader with 74.5 in his nine seasons with the team. He was a Pro Bowler in 2003, and was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 2013.
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