The Black Monday and House of Lies star told Fallon he has been stopped by police “more times than I can count” and had been taught from a young age how to handle situations where he might come in contact with law enforcement.
“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,” he told Fallon. “So, unfortunately, that was something that was put into our minds very early.”
Cheadle said he grew up in a “predominantly black neighborhood” in Kansas City, MO, where he rarely saw police and it wasn’t really a concern, but things changed when his family moved to the suburbs.
“We were the minority there, it was very different,” he revealed. “That’s when I first—that when a lot of bullying started when I was at school and definitely predicated on race, and that’s when it started to be clear that, yeah, the cops were not on Team Don and there was a different treatment.”
That treatment continued, he said, when he moved to Los Angeles, under then-LAPD Chief Darryl Gates.
“We would get stopped—I mean, I got stopped more times than I can count,” he said. “Guns put to my head. I always ‘fit the description’.’
“This is something that was happening over and over again, he continued. I’ve had good friends that were almost killed by the police for nothing. This is not something that was new to me once all these videos started coming out, it’s things that we knew very well that were happening, they just weren’t being filmed.”
You can watch the entire interview below.