At the height of anger and unrest across the United States regarding the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, world famous comedian Dave Chappelle revealed that he too had been choked by a police officer who mistook him for a criminal.
Dave has spoken out against police brutality and racism throughout his career. Here’s one clip where Dave discusses being at a Ferguson protest…
The former Chappelle’s Show host also gave a gesture of solidarity with Ferguson and nationwide protests against police brutality when he was named as the GQ Man of the Year, raising his hands in the famous “hands up, don’t shoot” pose for several different pictures at the magazine’s award party, at the Chateau Marmont hotel on the Sunset Strip.
Not long after that, Dave gave a performance in New Orleans, where he spoke out about getting choked by a New Orleans police officer, earlier in his career.
The incident happened while he was filming a movie when he was a teenager. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune‘s Jarvis DeBerry, Chappelle explained that he was working on his first movie, Undercover Blues, back in 1992. He says that the incident happened in front of many other members of the cast and crew, so this is not just his word against the police officer in question.
He was 18-years-old at the time, and playing a “mugger.” Dressed shabbily for the part, Dave ducked under the police tape which was all around the set. Immediately a police officer grabbed him by the throat and started choking him.
Chappelle commented on the bizarreness of the ordeal, explaining that you don’t even wonder why it’s happening, he said, you just say to yourself: “OK, here we go.”
Someone from the set yelled to the officer, to let him know that Dave was in the movie and had every right to be there.
“Well, why didn’t he say something?” the officer said.
The Yellow Springs resident spoke out at a time when police accountability activists in his hometown and neighboring Beavercreek, Ohio have been flooding the streets, recording the cops demanding police accountability.
The small town of Yellow Springs was also the site of a massive, seven-department-wide SWAT shootout where a man barricaded in his own house, with no hostages was shot by a sniper after police ran through the tiny suburb, breaking into residences where they thought he was hiding, and shooting up homes… All of this happened while the suspect was at home, and police were shooting at shadows and bringing in helicopters to search the town for a man who was never on the run.
Even in small town Ohio, there are examples of police abuse and militarization that highlight the growing problems citizens are facing with the police nationwide.
But long before this shootout, and before the neighboring John Crawford shooting in Beavercreek, the world famous comedian had a history of calling out the police for abuse and racism.
Watch the video below where Dave talks about what he says is the difference between “white” and “black” encounters with law enforcement.
(Article by M. David and Reagan Ali; image use for illustrative purposes)