Dave Chappelle sounds off on George Floyd in new special

The comedian performed a new set in his Ohio hometown.

ByGood Morning America via logo
June 12, 2020, 4:40 PM

Dave Chappelle surprised fans Friday with a blistering stand-up set reflecting on police brutality and the death of George Floyd.

In a video shared to Chappelle's Instagram page and Netflix's YouTube account, the comedian got emotional as he discussed watching the video of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

Noting that he believed Floyd "knew he was gonna die," Chappelle grew furious as he described former officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao watching Chavuin with "their hands in their pockets."

"What are you signifying that you can kneel on a man's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds and feel like you wouldn't get the wrath of God?" Chappelle asked. "That's what is happening right now. It's not for a single cop, it's for all of it. F---ing all of it. I don't mean to get heavy, but we gotta say something."

"[Floyd] told the police he couldn't breathe," Chappelle continued. "One of the hardest parts of the tape to listen to -- he said, 'Please.' I can't tell you, as a man, watching another man go through something like that, what it makes you feel like."

Floyd's death on Memorial Day sparked nationwide outrage and spurred protests coast to coast. In Minneapolis, the city council voted unanimously to dismantle the police department and the police chief announced that the department had withdrawn from contract negotiations with the police union.

Chappelle, who hadn't performed in nearly three months, titled his set "8:46," a reminder of how long Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck. For the comedian, the number holds a special significance.

"I can't get that number out of my head because it was the time of my birth on my birth certificate," he said. "I was born at 8:46 in the morning and they killed this [man] in 8 minutes, 46 seconds."

Throughout the wide-ranging June 6 performance, which Chappelle delivered outdoors in Yellow Springs, Ohio, to an audience that submitted to temperature checks and observed physical distancing guidelines, he reflected on the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown and Philando Castile, and slammed conservative pundits Laura Ingraham and Candace Owens and the National Rifle Association.

He also shared that his great-grandfather, William David Chappelle, visited former President Woodrow Wilson at the White House after a black man was lynched in South Carolina.

The issues the nation is addressing, he added, are nothing new.

"These streets will speak for themselves whether I am alive or dead," he closed. "I trust you guys. I love you guys."

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