It’s been 10 days since Trevor Noah delivered a sobering 18-minute monologue on the police killing of George Floyd that quickly racked up tens of millions of views across various social platforms and helped change the conversation about the “social contract” between black people and cops.
After taking last week off, he was back hosting The Daily Show from home Monday night and the story has only become bigger.
“Never before in American history has there been an uprising like this, exactly like this, where you have huge numbers of people coming out every single day, in every single state in the country,” Noah began, spending the first segment of his special hour-long broadcast on the massive protest movement. But after a break, he turned his attention back to the police.
“With all these protests sweeping across America, people have been comparing this moment to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s,” the host said. “And much like the 1960s, law enforcement officers have met these calls to end police brutality with even more police brutality.”
Following a horrifying montage of military-style attacks on peaceful protesters, Noah noted that police departments initially got this type of equipment to combat terrorists after 9/11. “I’m sorry, what about these people screams ‘terrorist’ to you?” he asked. “Like maybe I have forgotten my history but I don’t remember the part where al-Qaeda attacked America with cardboard signs.”
“I don’t care who you are, those images have to be upsetting to watch,” Noah said of the video of unprovoked violence by police. “Because these images are the antithesis of what America is supposed to stand for. This is supposed to be the country where you have the freedom to say whatever you want. A democracy. You can say whatever you want, whether it’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ or ‘Let’s all drink bleach,’ the government is not supposed to physically punish you for that.”
As for the cops who are openly attacking journalists, Noah darkly joked, “I mean, I can’t blame them, if I was doing the shit that the police have been doing I wouldn’t want anyone recording it either.”
“Something I think people need to understand about the police is that in a way, they have the same code that a gang does. Above all, you are loyal to your crew. That is a culture that is within every police department.”
Toward the end of his segment, Noah focused in on the Buffalo police unit who all quit their positions in solidarity with the officers who shoved a 75-year-old man to the ground and left him bleeding on the sidewalk. To him, this alone disproves the “just a few bad apples” theory.
“Something I think people need to understand about the police is that in a way, they have the same code that a gang does,” the host said later. “Above all, you are loyal to your crew. That is a culture that is within every police department.”
“If good police are willing to look the other way or even join in when the bad police have abused their powers,” he added, “you can make new rules and regulations all you want but if it won’t matter. America’s not going to be able to fix this problem until we have police whose first priority is protecting and serving the people instead of protecting and serving themselves.”
For more, listen and subscribe to The Last Laugh podcast.