John Oliver examined police accountability on Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight,” telling viewers in a 20-minute segment that the argument that some cops are simply bad apples has some real flaws.
“That is a weirdly blasé attitude because bad apples can erode trust fast,” Oliver said. “Snow White wasn’t afraid of apples before she took a bite out of that one really bad one, but I’m telling you, the next time an old lady comes at her with a piece of fruit, Snow is gonna get the f— out of there.”
Oliver continued: “That argument — it’s just a few bad apples — has some real problems. For a start, it doesn’t address bad laws and policies that good officers are made to enforce, which we’ve touched on multiple times before. Criminal justice is kind of our show’s signature bit. It is to us what assessing the shape of your poop is to Dr. Oz. Also, you can’t claim there’s just a few bad apples when no one knows exactly how many there are. There are nearly 18,000 different police departments in America, and they are not great at reporting or sharing data.”
Oliver started the segment off with a reminder of recent police-related shootings and the backlash, including an uncomfortable clip of Mary J. Blige singing directly to Hillary Clinton.
“The trust between police and the communities they serve is clearly a cornerstone of civilized society,” said Oliver. “Unfortunately, that trust has been rocked following a series of controversial police shootings from Alton Sterling to Philando Castile to Tamir Rice to so many others — I literally cannot mention them all. And cumulatively, these deaths taken with countless small incidence of police misconduct, have led to a common refrain.”
Oliver went on to mention specific examples of police not taking responsibility for “bad apples.”
Watch the video above.