Home / Badge Abuse / WATCH: Dave Chappelle Takes Over Town Hall Meeting to Expose Police Brutality

WATCH: Dave Chappelle Takes Over Town Hall Meeting to Expose Police Brutality

Yellow Springs, OH — Comedian Dave Chappelle was moved to attend a city council meeting in the small Ohio town where he lives, following a New Year’s Eve incident in which officers acted aggressively toward revelers — to call out what many felt was the small town’s dangerous flirtation with brutal policing.

Duly noting Yellow Springs Police have, indeed, assisted him on two occasions, Chappelle turned to the law enforcement panel and scolded sternly,

“Huge gaffe, New Year’s Eve.”

Affirmative murmurs from the residents in attendance made clear the comedian and political activist wasn’t alone in criticizing police for deploying Tasers against possibly-inebriated African American holidaymakers.

With a predominantly caucasian population of around 3,500 — and students attending private Antioch College — Yellow Springs is more sleepy, quirky enclave than bustling city, thus has not experienced the worst of a shamefully rampant police violence issue.

Per New Year’s Eve tradition, a crowd gathered downtown to celebrate and watch a disco ball drop at midnight — but the atmosphere turned strangely sour as the event drew to a close. The Chicago Tribune reports,

“Residents told the New York Times that officers began clearing the crowd more swiftly than usual. As they moved to disperse the residents, police said, according to the Times, that a 29-year-old black man named David Carlson, who was drunk, began to threaten officers and hit a squad car. An attorney for Carlson denied he was aggressive. After one officer forced Carlson to the ground, he slipped away into the mostly white crowd, which tried to prevent officers from following him.”

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In other words, the crowd moved to prevent unnecessary violence or arrest by police against a man who might have been drinking too heavily at a holiday event. But that didn’t stop the cops.

“There was a Taser deployed in a crowd and it missed,” an anonymous eyewitness told the Yellow Springs News at the time. “It could have hit a child.”

So rare are incidents where police in Yellow Springs have had to employ force of this nature, many residents were stunned the violence, albeit on a constricted scale, had finally touched their town.

Witness and 20-year resident, Anita Brown, told Yellow Springs News, as quoted by the Tribune, the officers seemed “emotionless, with no sense of caring. I witnessed villagers de-escalating and officers escalating, it was so strange, it seemed so backwards.”

“In all fairness,” Chappelle said to audience laughter, discussing the holiday scofflaw, “the crowd was drunk.” He added, deadpan, “because it was New Year’s Eve. … And, I left early, because nobody felt completely ‘right.’”

In response to ensuing contention, if perhaps in deference to outrage against police departments nationwide — those whose errant officers and corrupt supervisors frequently fail to be disciplined for controversial wrongdoings — Yellow Springs Police Chief Dave Hale resigned from the force on January 3.

On Monday, Chappelle attended the village council meeting to advocate for immediate reform of policing, with an eye to community relations, saying the council has “a tremendous opportunity for us to be a leader in progressive law enforcement.”

Where the bond between the community and police shattered was the shift from officers who live in the areas they serve. Noting when he attended school, everyone knew various officers because their children or other family members attended the same schools, Chappelle observed,

“Now we are being policed by what feels like an alien force.”

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Thanks to the government’s military surplus giveaway to local and state law enforcement, an aggressive and combatant — and staunchly authoritarian — method of policing has supplanted the albeit Rockwellian image of Officer Friendly patrolling with a smile, ostensively just decades ago.

Chappelle’s comparison might be new for tiny Yellow Springs, Ohio, but images of stormtrooper cops in military and riot gear, sometimes sporting imposing face shields, automatic rifles, and usually backed by armored vehicles — sometimes menacing, always intimidating — have splashed periodically across headlines for years.

As civilians fight tooth and nail to reform police forces nationwide, the violence wrought by those with a badge and gun continues to infect even the smallest havens like Chappelle’s hometown.

For the down-to-earth, politically-aware comedian, stepping to the mic to be a resounding voice of caution and to advocate for preemptive change is a way to draw attention to a timely cause.

“This is an opportunity to show everybody that local politics reigns supreme,” Chappelle concluded. “We can make our corner of the world outstanding.”

  • David Daisy May Boldock

    And a Happy New Year to cops everywhere…NOT

  • Not pro Israel
  • Sillywilly

    Um Dave, piece of advice buddy…you just gave them motive to pull you over and fck with you every time they see you out and about…you better have like twenty camera’s mounted on your vehicles.

    • The Cat’s Vagina

      Those cowards don’t want to fuck with a millionaire who can afford a team of bulldog lawyers! They’ll just stick with pulling over some black nobody and PRETENDING he’s that uppity [epithet] who makes them feel less than superior.

  • Padre3210

    He is absolutely right. And he stated it respectfully. Big respect for Chapelle!

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  • Domina Elle

    Hey Claire! You said:

    “With a predominantly caucasian population of around 3,500 — and students attending private Antioch College — Yellow Springs is more sleepy, quirky enclave than bustling city, thus has not experienced the worst of a shamefully rampant police violence issue.”

    Which seems to say that the white people haven’t experienced certain things simply because they’re white. I’m calling BS on that. It’s not so simple.

    There’s a more complex reality here and I hope people will start trying to comprehend it beyond simplistic terms.

    Take for example the spring break events which happen annually. There’s a predominately white spring break event and a predominately black spring break event. Go do your research with an objective mind set not viewing reality thru a lens crafted via a narrative. Both events involve people getting high and drunk. But one of the events involves gun play every year while the other does not. One has the business’s wanting to close down due to vandilism, destruction of property, people skipping out on paying their bills in mass, the other does not. Both events have a measure of fighting and littering but there is a huge difference in terms of the violence brought to the event by the people in attendance.

    Check it out. Get back to me. LOL.

    • 174thandvyse

      I don’t hafta “check it out” — you are saying that the White folks are well-behaved, and that the Black folks are not. You sound like a prejudiced dude who only counts police “statistics”. Remember this…cops LIE all the time, that’s their nature.

  • Chad Higgins

    No sound?

  • Donald Trump has doubled down on a failed war on drugs.This, alone shows how out of touch with reality he really is.His blind support of police shows his inability to see grey.He seems to be like a small child.Seeing everything in black and white.

  • Thomas Wintour

    Nothing better happen to that man nor his family. Nothing.