Trevor Noah: Video Of Philando Castile Shooting 'Broke Me'
By Rachel Cromidas in News on Jun 22, 2017 4:00PM
The just-released video of a Minnesota cop fatally shooting Philando Castile during what began as a routine traffic stop may have to become required viewing—it is graphic, heart-wrenching and senselessly violent, but if you haven't watched it yet, you really should. Then watch Daily Show host Trevor Noah's impassioned response to the jury that watched the video this spring, and then decided to acquit the since-fired cop, Jeronimo Yanez, of manslaughter and other criminal charges:
"When I watched this video, it broke me," Noah says. "You see so many of these videos and you start to get numb. But this one, seeing the child, that little girl get out of the car after watching a man get killed, it broke my heart into a million pieces."
In his powerful monologue on the video, released this week, Noah's completely justified anger comes through as he indicts the cop for panicking while facing a law-abiding black man and the jury for finding him innocent. Beyond the complete cognitive dissonance that one will experience watching the police dashcam video, Noah expertly sums up the forces behind the video and the jury's decision that make Castile's death completely gutting: There's the dog whistle racism of jokes about absent black fathers, contrasted with the basic fact that the child in the video (the daughter of Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds) will now grow up without Castile in her life. "That's a black dad that's gone," Noah says.
Then, there's Reynolds' response to Yanez, recorded in separate video in which she filmed the direct aftermath of the shooting: "You shot four bullets into him, sir." Noah repeats her quote, adding: "It's f***ing mind blowing that Diamond Reynolds has seen her boyfriend shot in front of her, and she still has the presence of mind to be deferential to the police man."
And there's the argument that police body cameras can fix the problem of police brutality and excessive use of force, and the argument that getting police brutality cases in front of a jury will lead to justice.
"Black people finally get [this] and it's like, wait. What? Nothing?" Noah says. "Are we all watching the same video, the video where a law-abiding man followed an officer's instructions to the letter of the law and was still killed regardless?"
Perhaps most appalling, Noah says, is that the jury was able to see Yanez's actions as self-defense:
"When a jury of your peers, your community, sees this evidence and decides that even this is self-defense, that's truly depressing. [It's] saying that in America it is officially reasonable to be afraid of a person just because they are black."