Funnyman Dave Chappelle is speaking out about his encounter with the police. During his stand-up routine on Dec. 12 in New Orleans, Chappelle revealed to the audience he was choked by the police when he was filming a movie in the city years ago. While Chappelle’s act was not recorded, Jarvis DeBerry from The Times-Picayune, was in attendance and relayed the story. DeBerry stated Chappelle recalled he was working on his first movie role in the 1993 film, Undercover Blues he stepped under the police tape which surrounded the set. Chappelle played the part of a mugger and apparently was dressed like one for the flick. When he tried to step back under the tape a police officer started to choke him. Chappelle, who was 18 at the time said one of the women who worked on the set saw the incident take place started yelling at the police officer the comic had the right to be on the set. The police officer then started to relax his hold on Chappelle.
Chappelle admitted to the audience about the experience:
The weirdest thing about being a black man being choked by the police, Chappelle said, is that you don’t even wonder why it’s happening. You just think, he said, “OK, here we go.”
Chappelle’s revelation comes on the heels of the nationwide media scrutiny of the use of chokeholds by police officers after the Staten Island death of Eric Garner. Police officer Daniel Pantaleo was shown on tape placing Garner in a chokehold which lead to his death. A grand jury decided on Dec. 3 not to indict Pantaleo for Garner’s death sparking protests accross the country.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chappelle’s rep Carla Sims has confirmed his story. Sims told the trade magazine,
“Dave’s experience is a ‘Fact of Blackness,'” Sims told The Hollywood Reporter in an email. “What happened to him in the early 90’s, happened to Black men in the 60’s, the 50’s… and is something that they have come to expect when dealing with police, regardless of the circumstances.”