Actor Don Cheadle got candid about his past experiences with discrimination and police on a recent episode of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” While speaking about the current climate of the world following the death of George Floyd, the “Black Monday” star says that he’s had quite a few run-ins with law enforcement because of his skin color.
“That was when a lot of bullying started when I was at school and it definitely predicated on race,” he said. “That’s when it started to be clear that the cops were not on Team Don and there was a different treatment.”
He continued, “I think a lot of Black people have the story of how their parents had cautioned them about how to comport themselves when they come into contact with law enforcement and the rules of how to just make sure that you can come home and be safe and what you had to do. So, unfortunately that was something that was put into our minds very early.”
The “House of Lies” star also noticed how many more minorities were pursued by police once he moved to Hollywood. He referenced Operation Hammer, a 1987 initiative reportedly aimed at decreasing gang violence in Los Angeles.
“I don’t know if it was officially coined that it was to stop and harass Black and Brown people, but that was the sort of unofficial official interdepartmental language that they used for the Hammer Program, what it was for and what it was designed to do — to intimidate and to make sure everybody knew who was really running things in LA,” he said.
“I got stopped more times than I can count and guns put to my head. I always fit the description,” Cheadle added. “I have good friends who were almost killed by the police for nothing. So, this is not something that was new to me once all of these videos started to come out. This was something that we knew very well was happening, they just weren’t being filmed.”
Watch a clip from the interview below.