Dave Chappelle Says Police Choked Him on a Movie Set in the Nineties

Associated Press

The comedian's rep calls his experience a "fact of blackness"

At Dave Chappelle's standup set in New Orleans on Thursday, the comedian said he had been choked by police while filming in the city years ago.

In the Times-Picayune, New Orleans reporter Jarvis DeBerry recounted what Chappelle said during his set. The comedian told the crowd he was playing a mugger in a movie, presumably the 1993 movie Undercover Blues, the newspaper reported. Chapelle was a teenager at the time. He said he stepped off the movie set, which was surrounded by police tape, and when he stepped back under the tape to return to the set a police officer started choking him.

Chappelle, according to the newspaper, stated that a woman working on set yelled to the officer that he belonged there, and the officer responded by asking why the comedian hadn't said anything.

Chappelle's rep, Carla Sims, confirmed that the comedian told the story on Thursday, as reported by the Times-Picayune. She said this is the first time Chappelle remembers talking about his experience on stage.

"Dave’s experience is a ‘Fact of Blackness,'" Sims told The Hollywood Reporter in an email. "What happened to him in the early 90’s, happened to Black men in the 60's, the 50’s… and is something that they have come to expect when dealing with police, regardless of the circumstances."

The comedian's story comes in the wake of nationwide protests surrounding the death of Eric Garner, who was choked to death by a police officer in July.

12/12/2014 5:49pm: Updated to reflect this is the first time Chappelle recalls talking publicly about his experience.