Trevor Noah spent some time on Monday’s episode of “The Daily Show” on a frank discussion of flagrant displays of police brutality that have been documented against people who, in cities across the country, are currently protesting… police brutality.
And in the end, Noah said in his estimation, police departments across the country are behaving more like criminal gangs than public servants.
To start the segment off, Noah did a dive into recent history, noting how after the 911 attacks there was an increase in calls to arm police departments with military grade equipment, ostensibly to combat terrorism. “The police department got this heavy-duty equipment to fight terrorists… and now they’re using it against Americans who are exercising their right to protest,” Noah said.
Noah followed this with a truly disturbing supercut of some of the more brazen displays of ugly violence directed by police at lawful protests. This included infamous scenes such as a protester who was assaulted and arrested for criticizing police, police in New York literally driving their vehicles over protesters, a cop ripping off a peaceful protester’s face mask and pepper spraying him, and more.
“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,” Noah said. “A democratic right. 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.”
But then Noah showed a second supercut, this one focused on disturbing examples of police officers knowingly assaulting journalists reporting on protests. This included the Louisville, Kentucky news crew who police shot with pepper balls as another officer aimed his gun directly at their cameras, and an NBC reporter who was struck by a tear gas canister.
“I mean at this point you might be wondering is there anyone non-threatening enough that the police would not get violent with them, and what we’re learning is that the answer is no,” Noah said, citing a disturbing incident in which Buffalo, NY police officers pushed an elderly man to the ground, and then proceeded to ignore him as he bled out on the sidewalk.
Which brought him to his observation that police officers are behaving more like criminal gangs. Noah noted that Buffalo PD first lied outright about what happened to the man, only to admit the truth when video proof was made public. But after the two Buffalo officers who attacked the man were suspended, the other members of the city’s special response team resigned from the team in protest. Protest, Noah said, not of unprovoked assaults on law-abiding citizens, but on an attempt to hold people who commit such violence accountable.
“Think about this for a second. Not only did the police department try to cover up what happened. Not only did they try and lie about something that we saw on camera, but once the truth got out and those cops were punished, the entire team resigned to protest those police being held accountable,” Noah continued. “In fact, they even showed up at the courthouse to cheer them on as they came out. What are you cheering? That buffalo is finally safe from old men walking around in public?”
“And something I think people need to understand about the police is that in a way they have the same code that a gang does, in that above all you are loyal to your crew. That is a culture that is within every police department. And that’s the heart of this issue. If good police are willing to look the other way or even join in when the bad police abuse their powers, you can make new rules and regulations all you want but it won’t matter,” Noah added.
“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,” he concluded.
Watch the whole clip above.