'Insecure' Star Kendrick Sampson Speaks Out After Being Hit By Rubber Bullets, Police Baton at Protest
By Jennifer Drysdale
Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images
Kendrick Sampson is speaking out after being hit by rubber bullets fired by LAPD.
The Insecure star was protesting George Floyd's death in Los Angeles on Saturday when the police fired rubber bullets at him and other demonstrators. The incident, which was captured on Instagram Live and by a CNN broadcast, also shows Sampson backing away while being hit by an officer's baton.
"My non-profit initiative BLD PWR and I, in collaboration with Black Lives Matter LA, organized a peaceful demonstration, protesting the brutal killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Kenneth Ross, Jr. and 600+ others killed by police in LA County. [The protest] had two demands 1) Defund Police and 2) Prosecute Killer Cops," Sampson said in a statement to ET on Sunday. "I am safe this morning, but the liberation continues tomorrow and beyond. Defund Police."
Sampson's rep tells ET he was beaten multiple times with batons and shot seven times with rubber bullets by LAPD while peacefully demonstrating.
"Glad y’all witnessed this. Esp the video of them actually targeting us. He didn’t try to ricochet the bullets of the ground - one tactic - he pointed the gun DIRECTLY AT ME. I actually got hit 7 times with rubber bullets and many with batons. My boy has stitches. #DEFUNDPOLICE," Sampson wrote on Twitter following the incident.
He added, "Appreciate the outpouring of support & standing with us but if y’all really want to support, make sure we do EVERYTHING in our POWER to #DEFUNDPOLICE - END THE LEGACY OF SLAVE CATCHING and use those resources, OUR RESOURCES to build BETTER. Make THAT the headlines. Put in WORK."
Appreciate the outpouring of support & standing with us but if y’all really want to support, make sure we do EVERYTHING in our POWER to #DEFUNDPOLICE - END THE LEGACY OF SLAVE CATCHING and use those resources, OUR RESOURCES to build BETTER. Make THAT the headlines. Put in WORK.
Sampson's organization, BLD PWR, organized a protest at Pan Pacific Park in West Hollywood on Saturday afternoon with Black Lives Matter. The protest moved to the Fairfax District, where they were confronted by police.
The 32-year-old actor showed off his injuries on Instagram, including a bloody lip from the baton.
"Y’all ain’t see no police f**king up white folks when they took guns to the statehouse," he said. "Y’all didn’t see police attacking white folks, beating 'em up with batons, shooting them with rubber bullets when they brought guns to f**king state houses. We came up here with no weapons, with masks. And we're the ones who are not peaceful."
"We did an event together, peaceful, powerful, talking about defunding the police, talking about building power in our communities and what that really looks like. That's what we were doing. We marched to the intersection at Fairfax, we were there for a bit. We closed it out with a chant," he added.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a curfew for downtown L.A. on Saturday, which was later extended citywide. "I'm asking all of Los Angeles to take a deep breath and step back for a moment," he said in a press conference.
In a Thursday interview with ET, Sampson opened up about the work BLD PWR was doing to create change for the black community.
"On Wednesday, we had a very successful demonstration with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles. Out in the streets of Downtown L.A., hundreds of people came out in the name of George Floyd and those who have been killed by police in L.A. County here, like Kenneth Ross Jr. and Wakiesha Wilson and over 600 others," he said.
While feelings of anger, frustration and devastation have swept the country, Sampson said he still felt "hopeful" that things will change. "I feel like right now, as heavy as it is, what I hear organizers, activists, and people involved in liberation work saying all over the United States is that their hope is in the fact that people are primed for an ideological shift," he shared. "People are fed up and these systems are exposed. And it is forcing people to expand their imagination as to what's possible."
"There are oppressive people and systems that are very well funded that are tormenting that change with all their might. But we have exponentially more people than the people that benefit off of this oppression. We are seeing that we have that people power, and we do have the power to change these things," Sampson continued. "The examples of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Brionna Taylor... [occurred because these systems] were not founded to care for our communities. And we, because people are ready for this shift, we can imagine better."
Sampson added, "I really, truly believe I can imagine better than this. I know that it exists. I have seen it, so it's not as hard for me to imagine. I know a lot of people have not seen these examples, but I believe that the bar is so low that we definitely can imagine better. And these systems, a lot of them don’t need to be reformed, they need to be transformed. We need to actually put a new foundation that is built on care, and radical love of the most vulnerable in our communities."