Actor Don Cheadle has shared his experience of racial prejudice, recalling the countless times he has been stopped by the police.
Cheadle, a prominent face in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), is best known for portraying the superhero War Machine.
During a virtual appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the actor opened up about his past encounters with the police amid the protests against police brutality and racism.
Cheadle grew up in a predominantly black neighborhood in Kansas City, and said he didn’t really understand racial discrimination in law enforcement until his family moved to the suburbs.
That was when a lot of bullying started when I was at school, and it definitely predicated on race.
That’s when it started to be clear that the cops were not on ‘Team Don’ and there was a different treatment.”
He said that when he relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting, his interactions with cops continued to escalate.
Cheadle referenced Operation Hammer, a policy put in place in 1987 by former Chief of Police Daryl Gates that heavily targeted blacks in an attempt to stop gang violence in the city.
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 everyone knew who was really running things in L.A.”
Speaking further, he disclosed that he has been stopped many times by the police.
I got stopped more times than I can count and guns put to my head. I always fit the description.”
Cheadle also said that the violence meted out to black people by the police was nothing new.
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.”
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