Don Cheadle may be an A-list celebrity, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t had the same struggles with police as the rest of us.
The actor opened up about his history with the police during a recent appearance on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. Cheadle says he learned about racial discrimination at the hands of police when he moved to the suburbs from a predominately Black neighborhood.
“That was when a lot of bullying started when I was at school, and it definitely predicated on race,” Cheadle said. “That’s when it started to be clear that the cops were not on ‘Team Don’ and there was a different treatment.”
After he moved to Hollywood, he noticed how aggressively minorities were pursued by police and referenced Operation Hammer, a 1987 policy supposedly aimed at curbing 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 L.A.,” he explained.
“I got stopped more times than I can count and guns put to my head…I always fit the description,” he added.
Police brutality is finally getting the recognition is deserves, but Cheadle acknowledges it isn’t a new occurrence.
“I have good friends who were almost killed by the police for nothing,” he said. “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.”
When it comes to the prospects of former Vice President Joe Biden taking Trump out of office, Cheadle believes there’s a lot of work to be done.
“He’s going to have to continue to show up and he’s going to have to continue to really earn the spot, I think,” he said. “It’s going to be an uphill battle. We still haven’t dealt with a lot of the voter fraud issues, a lot of the voter suppression.”
Watch the clip: