NASCAR driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. joined the Dale Jr. Download podcast to share a personal story about when he found out that his unarmed cousin was shot and killed by a police officer, and also discussing racial injustices and police brutality.
In addition of speaking with Earnhardt Jr. & co-host Mike Davis about his response to Ahmaud Arbery being fatally shot while jogging in Georgia and Kyle Larson using racial slur back in April, Wallace even opened up about some ways in which he’s been discriminated against.
He also told the story of a police officer shooting his cousin in 2003. The 26-y-o Richard Petty Motorsports driver of the #43 Chevrolet said he first talked to his mom about sharing this story “because I wanted to bring it up.”
Bubb was 9 years of age when he was at his sister’s basketball tournament, even though he stated he can’t quite remember where exactly. He stated on the Dale Jr. Download:
“I was running around the gym with all the other brothers and sisters there, and all of a sudden, I hear a scream — like the worst scream that you’d want to hear. Not like a somebody-scared-you scream, like something bad had just happened. And I look over and I see my mom running out the door, and we had just found out my cousin had been shot and killed by a police officer. Unarmed.
“And so I was young. I didn’t understand it. We lost a family member. But now seeing everything come full circle, I totally get it now.”
Wallace continued to share the story of his cousin shooting and said it all started from a white store clerk feeling threatened by a group of black individuals.
“They had just left somewhere — a football game or something. He was , and they all went to a gas station here in Knoxville, Tennessee. Playing loud music, it was a whole crowd, a hang-out spot. … But the store clerk, who happened to be white, felt threatened that there was more African Americans and that something bad was going to happen. So she called the cops, and the police officer had ordered my cousin, Sean, to put his hands up, and he did.
“And then that officer walked away, and [my cousin] went to grab his phone to call his mom because he was scared and was shot and killed from the other police officer. And it’s like all because people were having a good time, not bothering somebody but somehow, people are afraid. Why are you afraid of black people? That’s just the thing I don’t understand. Like, we’re minding our own business, we’re having a good time, and somebody’s life was taken, and it happened to my family member. And I’ve never shared that story.
“I remember in fourth grade, I was crying, I had gotten let out of class for it. But now, truly understanding it, it definitely hurts a lot more now that I can decipher what really went on into it. [They] said he was reaching for a gun and he wasn’t. So that’s tough. I’ve dealt with that. That’s indirectly, but it’s family.”
A judge later cleared the officer in the shooting. The family filed a civil suit and lost in court on appeal.
However, Wallace did then open up about one of his experiences with police harassing him. More from the man him self on the Dale Jr. Download: