The second-year defensive tackle was arrested in Montgomery County, Texas, on May 17 and charged with DWI and unlawful possession of a firearm after police pulled him over under suspicion of impaired driving. However, Oliver said the arresting officers took him in even after he passed a Breathalyzer test.
“I’m not sure how you get arrested with nothing in your system,” Oliver said. “That’s one of the things [I’m talking about] when I say life can hit you quick — even if you’re innocent, you can still go to jail for nothing. You’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do. If they say you’ve got to go to jail, don’t resist, go to jail.
“It’s not right, but it is what it is.”
Oliver, 22, said he blew a .00% on his Breathalyzer test May 17, but officers still believed he was impaired. He said he took an independent blood test following his arrest and knew he didn’t have anything in his system but still had to wait for the legal process to play out.
But before he was able to take that independent test, he was taken to jail, given a jumpsuit with holes in it and locked in a cell.
He described the feeling as surreal for someone who has gone out of his way to stay out of legal trouble throughout his life.
“I didn’t feel right. I felt like, ‘I shouldn’t be doing this,'” he said. “I didn’t work my whole life and walk a straight line my whole life to be put in a jumpsuit and taken to jail. … That’s how I felt violated.”
Oliver said he was “frustrated” when the arresting officer “wasn’t understanding” or “didn’t want to understand” that he was tired — not under the influence of any drugs that night. The experience also allowed him to reflect on just how volatile interactions with the police can be.
Eight days after his arrest, George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers while being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill. Watching the video of Floyd’s killing and the widespread outrage afterward reminded Oliver why he remained polite and respectful throughout the process.
“It really puts things into perspective, like, that could have been me,” he said. “If I didn’t just ‘yes sir, no sir’ and just comply — all it took was for me to move the wrong way or do something the wrong way and that could have been me. It was tough, but after that, it still worked out and everything.
“It just put it in perspective like, you’ve got to slow down and you’ve got to watch your surrounding and stuff like that and try to keep yourself out of situations like that, because life is real and life comes at you fast. I was on my way to the house, I wasn’t expecting to get arrested. You never know, you can be doing anything and life could just hit you.”
Oliver said he was released from jail Sunday after being arrested late Saturday night. He then addressed his teammates Monday.
The reactions were mixed.
“I just ran it to them, basically what happened,” he said. “Probably some of the guys was like, ‘I don’t know if it happened like that.’ I was trying to tell them, I feel like nobody believed me. I felt like I was guilty until proven innocent, not innocent until proven guilty. I feel like everybody was like, ‘Why were you drinking and driving; you can’t be doing that.’
“I feel like some of the guys believed me, some of the guys thought it might be more to it. I just told them the truth.”
The team issued a statement in support of Oliver once his charges were dropped July 22.
Oliver was the ninth overall pick of the 2019 NFL draft and was one of the Bills’ key defenders as a rookie, recording 43 tackles and five sacks. He projects to be one of the focal points of Buffalo’s defensive line in 2020 as well.