28/09/2016 09:10 BST | Updated 28/09/2016 13:09 BST

Serena Williams Speaks Out On Police Violence In US As She Vows 'I Won't Be Silent'

‘There comes a time when silence is betrayal.’

Tennis champion Serena Williams has spoken out against the killing of African Americans by US police officers in a heartfelt Facebook post.

The US tennis star wrote: “As Dr Martin Luther King said: ‘There comes a time when silence is betrayal.’ I won’t be silent.”

Her comments come as tensions between law enforcement officers and members of the black community continue to rise after a number of shootings and protests.

Last week Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, was fatally shocked by officers in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Most recently, an unarmed black man was shot in California by police officers, sparking protest in San Diego. 

Jacopo Raule via Getty Images
Serena Williams speaks out on police violence in heartfelt Facebook post.

In her post the multi-Gram Slam winner recounts a recent journey in her car with her nephew who is black.

Her 18-year-old nephew was driving the vehicle when she saw a police car ahead and recalled the woman whose boyfriend was fatally shot by police as she sat in the passenger seat. 

Williams is believed to have been referring to the shooting of Philando Castile, who was shot by a Minnesota police officer in July. His girlfriend live-streamed the confrontation.

Williams, 35, said: “Today I asked my 18-year-old nephew (to be clear he’s black) to drive me to my meetings so I can work on my phone #safteyfirst.

“In the distance I saw cop on the side of the road. I quickly checked to see if he was obliging by the speed limit. Than I remembered that horrible video of the woman in the car when a cop shot her boyfriend.

“All of this went through my mind in a matter of seconds. I even regretted not driving myself. I would never forgive myself if something happened to my nephew. He’s so innocent. So were all ‘the others’.”

Williams said that she believes that not “everyone is bad”, but blames those who are “ignorant, afraid, uneducated, and insensitive”.

Williams continues: “Why did I have to think about this in 2016? Have we not gone through enough, opened so many doors, impacted billions of lives?

“But I realised we must stride on - for it’s not how far we have come but how much further still we have to go.

“As Dr. Martin Luther King said: ‘There comes a time when silence is betrayal. I won’t be silent.”

The tennis star joins a high-profile group of athletes speaking out about social injustice including San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick who has taken to kneeling during the national anthem in protest of the mistreatment of minorities in the US.

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