Dave Chappelle's Description of Being Choked by Police Is Just So Telling

Nearly every African-American man in America has a story about a negative encounter with the police, and Dave Chappelle is no exception. During a stand-up set in New Orleans recently, the comedian described being choked by New Orleans police -- on the set of his very first movie. No filming of Chappelle's set was allowed, but reporter Jarvis DeBerry of the New Orleans Times-Picayune recounted the story, which Chappelle told in the midst of discussing the police choking death of Eric Garner:


Chappelle said he was working on his "first movie" here in New Orleans. He was playing a mugger, he said. He was dressed for the part. The movie set was surrounded with police tape. He ducked under it. Then a police officer set upon him and immediately started choking him.

According to the Internet Movie Database, Dave Chappelle played a mugger in the 1993 movie "Undercover Blues," part of which was filmed in New Orleans. The movie was shot in the summer of 1992. Filming ended the same month Chappelle celebrated his 19th birthday.

One of the women working on the set saw what was happening to the actor and yelled to the police officer that he belonged on the set. After relaxing his hold on Chappelle's neck the police officer said, according to the comedian, 'Well why didn't he say something?'

While the entire anecdote is disturbing -- though not exactly surprising -- perhaps the most uncomfortable truth came as Chappelle described his own reaction:

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."

A Staten Island jury declined to indict the white cop who used an illegal chokehold on Garner, despite a New York City coroner ruling the death a homicide. Nationwide protests have followed the decision and a similar verdict in the case of Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri, officer who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown. 

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.