The verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial came down just as Stephen Colbert was getting set to tape Tuesday night's episode of "The Late Show," so Colbert began his monologue with an impromptu commentary lauding the former Minneapolis police officer's conviction for murdering George Floyd while Floyd begged for his life in May 2020, but acknowledging that "it's hard to celebrate, because a man is still dead."
Colbert noted what he called a "sense of relief" because "at least this one injustice was not compounded with indifference," and was thankful Chauvin "faces accountability." But he also noted that "there is more work to be done" in the fight to end systemic racism.
Watch the whole thing above or read the transcript below
"Just before the taping of our show today, the verdict was announced in the trial of Derek Chauvin. He was found guilty on all three counts in the death of George Floyd. After 10 hours of deliberation, a jury in Minneapolis decided that it's illegal for the police to murder people. That Black lives matter," Colbert said.
"It's hard to celebrate, because a man is still dead. But there is a sense of relief that at least this one injustice was not compounded with indifference. And it could easily have gone the other way. No matter what you saw on that tape, this nation does not have a great track record on this subject. But at least, in this case, this man faces accountability," Colbert continued.
"But justice is a far more difficult goal. America still has a problem of over-policing and systemic racism, but hopefully this is a step toward a future where police being held accountable for their actions isn't headline material. And a hope that accountability today is deterrent for tomorrow, he said.
"Today is one stop in a journey that began last May and led to protests calling for that accountability, in every town and every city in America. But this is just one stop. There is more work to be done. And it's work that all of us should be committed to, because, as Ben Crump, the Floyd family lawyer reminded us today: Justice for Black America is justice for all America," Colbert concluded.