Dave Chappelle says he was choked by police in New Orleans

During a stand-up routine, Chappelle recounts a story from the early 90s where he was choked by a police officer

Published December 12, 2014 9:17PM (EST)

Dave Chappelle       (AP/Brad Barket)
Dave Chappelle (AP/Brad Barket)

In a stand-up set on Thursday night, Dave Chappelle told a story of being choked by police in New Orleans during the early 1990s.

Jarvis DeBerry, a writer at the Times-Picayune, was at the New Orleans comedy show and wrote about the set on Nola.com. Chappelle was discussing the choking death of Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD on Staten Island, when he revealed that he too had been choked by police, in New Orleans. From DeBerry:

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?'"

According to DeBerry's friend who was at the show, Chappelle wasn't surprised by the action and merely thought, "OK, here we go."

The reference to Eric Garner was not the only topical subject matter of the night. One of Chappelle's openers Hannibal Burress also joked that he was in New Orleans to hide from Bill Cosby, DeBerry wrote.

In October, Burress made a joke about Cosby being a rapist, and for some reason the joke resonated in the public's mind. Since the joke, many women -- some who had already made their accusations public, and some who were coming out with stories for the first time -- have come forward to state that Cosby had drugged and or raped them.


By Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Choke Comedy Dave Chappelle Hannibal Burress New Orleans Police Brutality Police Violence