In the wake of police shootings of black men Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, CNN anchor Don Lemon, who is African-American, spoke with civil rights attorney Charles Coleman Jr., former Drug Enforcement Administration senior special agent David Katz and New York's Hot 97 radio host Peter Rosenberg passionately about his personal experiences with police, The Root reported.
Lemon made a point to say that although he's an American, he knows he has to take specific measures because of the environment he is in as a person of color and comply with police "because I want to stay alive."
"I’m an American, I shouldn’t have to do that. I shouldn’t have to be ‘yes, sir’ing anybody … but I do it because I want to stay alive. That’s why I do it," Lemon said on CNN Thursday. "Now my friends, my white counterparts, don’t do that. They speak to police officers in a way that I would never in a million years do, and that is the reality of it.
"I have to do it because I have to stay alive. As accomplished as I am and as a man of color on television, who is recognizable to many people, I have to do that because I don't want to be shot and I don't' want to be killed. And I'm someone who is never in trouble."
Lemon said he doesn't get stopped by police often, but when he does, it's "for something stupid like riding a skateboard on the sidewalk … and when that happens (I say) 'Yes officer. How may I help you?'"
Lemon said that Alton Sterling's mother taught him the same thing -- to comply with police -- "and he is dead today."
Watch the video, from CNN, below: