Homeland star David Harewood recalls being ‘sat on by six police officers’ when he was sectioned: ‘I’d be dead if I was in America’

Annabel Nugent
·2-min read
Harewood has previously said the lack of opportunities for black actors in Britain made him move to the US to look for work
Harewood has previously said the lack of opportunities for black actors in Britain made him move to the US to look for work

Homeland star David Harewood has opened up about the moment he was sectioned in 1989, stating that he was “f***ing terrified”.

The actor, who famously portrayed David Estes in the hit US show, said that doctors “pumped me full of sedatives” and that police officers in riot gear sat on him for hours during his sectioning.

Harewood told Men’s Health Magazine that he was kept in the dark about what would happen to him when he arrived at the hospital in north London.

He said: “I started screaming at the top of my voice. I don’t remember any of this, but my friends tell me that security was called. They came down, took one look at me – this big black man – and said, ‘No way.’”

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The 54-year-old continued: “They called the police and then several officers turned up with riot shields and rushed me.” He went on to say that the police “sat on me for hours”.

The actor – who would have been around 24 years old at the time – recalled the incident further: “Doctors pumped me full of sedatives and, at one point, they asked, 'Has he taken any drugs? Because we've given him enough sedatives to knock out a horse and he's not going down.’

“I was f***ing terrified. The thoughts in my head were telling me that the demons had caught me, so I thought I was fighting for my life."

He said: “In my mind, the devils had caught me so I was resisting.”

 The 54-year-old is best known for his portrayal of CIA Counterterrorism Director David Estes in 'Homeland’
The 54-year-old is best known for his portrayal of CIA Counterterrorism Director David Estes in 'Homeland’

Touching on the issue of police brutality against black people in the US, Harewood added: “I'd be dead if I'd been in America, no doubt about it.”

The actor previously spoke about his struggle with mental health in last year’s BBC Two documentary David Harewood: Psychosis and Me.

Harewood’s full interview appears in the November issue of Men’s Health.

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