Anti-blackness and violent policing may have some of their most visible expressions in the U.S. given the nation’s outsized visibility on the global stage, but by no means are these issues limited to America. The latest evidence of this is the brutal treatment that Insecure actor Kendrick Sampson appears to have received at the hand of police in the South American nation Colombia on Tuesday.
Sampson reposted video footage on his Instagram page on Tuesday night that shows a uniformed officer in the city of Cartagena holding him by the arm and then suddenly punching him in the face and then pulling a weapon.
In a caption accompanying the video, Sampson revealed that he’d been in the city for five days at that point and had already been stopped six times by police. “It happens to Black Colombians often,” he shared. “I’m told stopping is the policy, but what is NOT is they reached down my underwear aggressively, slap my arms five times hard, punch me in my jaw.”
Kendrick said the police then cuffed him and dragged him through the streets though he was not resisting. It isn’t yet clear if Sampson is completely free of the Colombia police’s custody, but he posted to his Instagram that he spent the night at his hotel being questioned by different officers who were seeking his account of the incident.
The footage of his assault by the cops is now making the rounds on social media, and Sampson told his followers that this is the best way to support him from a distance. “This is a violation of human rights that happens every day with no accountability,” he shared on his Instagram Stories. “At the end of the day, that’s my best protection. Visibility.”
According to the nation’s most recent census count, Afro-Colombians make up about a 6 percent minority of Colombia’s overall population, though the National Conference of Afro-Colombian Organizations said last year that this census effectively caused “statistical genocide” by steeply undercounting the country’s Black residents, who in 2005 were reported to make up around 10 percent of the population.
“My heart hurts for people here, in the U.S. and worldwide who get abused in the shadows (or in broad daylight with no accountability),” Sampson said of his experience.
It isn’t clear what brought him to Colombia and if he is still in the country. Sampson, a 2020 The Root honoree, is a vocal social justice activist who was a notable presence at protests against police violence in Los Angeles earlier this year during which he was hit by rubber bullets fired by officers.
The Root has reached out to the actor’s team for comment and will update if we receive a response.