Larry Wilmore on Alton Sterling, Police Shootings: 'The Punishment for Being a Black Man Shouldn't Be Death'

In a stirring segment that would only become even more relevant just hours later, The Nightly Show‘s Larry Wilmore sounded off on the fatal, officer-involved shooting of black men such as Alton Sterling and, now, Philando Castile.

Police responding to a 911 call about a man waving around a gun approached Sterling on Tuesday night as he was CDs outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, La. Sterling was tasered and tackled to the ground, before being shot multiple times. (Authorities say Sterling was in possession of a gun, though bystanders’ videos of the altercation show he never reached for it.) Echoing an excerpt from a TV news report, “He was ‘pronounced dead at the scene’ because he was shot by the cops while pinned to the ground,” Wilmore observed.

Hours after The Nightly Show segment was taped, Philando Castile would be pulled over by police in Falcon Heights, Minn., for a busted tail light, When he reached to produce his ID, as asked to by the officer, he was shot, and later died. Video of the immediate aftermath was live-streamed to Facebook by the passenger in the vehicle, an officer with his gun still drawn standing outside the driver’s window.

“We’ve covered this type of thing in the past, and to be frank with you, we’re just tired of this s–t happening,” Wilmore said on the Comedy Central program’s Wednesday-night episode. He then added, ‘Thank God for f–king cell phones,” which in the case of Sterling, and now Castile, recorded the shooting and immediate aftermath, respectively, whereas a police officer’s body cam in the Sterling incident “fell off.”

Wilmore also questioned the media’s need to do “an immediate takedown of the dead man’s character,” surfacing prior arrests and what not.

“No matter what this crimes were, Alton Sterling did not deserve to be executed,” Wilmore said. “The punishment for resisting arrest shouldn’t be death. The punishment for selling bootleg CDs shouldnt be death. The punishment for having a gun in an open-carry state shouldnt be death. The punishment for being a black man shouldn’t be death.”

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26 Comments
  1. JA903 says:

    ***sigh***
    When will this end???
    So sad… 😢😢

  2. Gregory House. says:

    Registered sex offender amongst other crimes on his rap sheet.
    On parole for domestic battery.
    Illegally carrying a gun due to that.
    Allegedly threatened someone with that gun outside the store, which is why the police were called.
    Despite being tasered, still resisted arrest and was armed.

    That is why he’s dead. Not his race you addled nitwit.

    • FINALLY! Common sense. Don’t resist arrest. It puts both your life and the officer’s life in danger. I’m not saying that the shooting is 100% justified as I, like everyone else, do not have all of the facts yet. We only have video showing us the shooting and aftermath and nothing that led up to it.

      Same thing with the shooting from last night right here in MN. Yet, we have people out there protesting in front of Gov Dayton’s mansion. I agree both shootings are horrific as I don’t want to see anyone lose their life, however, there is a criminal justice process that takes time to work. Arrests can’t be made the very same night, day or week since police officers’ jobs are different from every else’s in that they have the right to shoot people in certain situations. Everyone needs to take a deep breathe, let the system work and then respond. BLM tore up MN for 7 months (set up illegal camp at the 4th precinct for 11 days while hurling insults/slurs, Molotov cocktails, and other objects at police; illegally gathered at the Mall of America despite being warned prior that it was private property; blocked interstate 94; protested at the MOA again, interstate 494 and the airport around Christmas time, etc.) all in the name of justice for a woman beating loser named Jamar Clark, who two separate investigations from at the state and federal levels found the officer’s actions to be justifiable. Just like Michael Brown and apparently so far like Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Point is, yes the videos are disturbing, but calm down and think before acting.

      • Echika says:

        You can’t be serious. You think the list of minor offenses warrants an execution! What kind of humanity is that? Yet everyone should calm down? Have you watched the video? Can you at least agree that these videos (whether or not the police have been acquitted) are surfacing at an alarming rate? This has been going on forever and the fact of the matter is that smart phones have brought this horrid behavior to light. You don’t see these videos of white criminals being executed in the street. No matter what he did…NO MATTER WHAT, he did not deserve what he got. He did not deserve to die. It is not right, and I am appalled at your lack of outrage. Police come in all shapes, sizes and colors, as do the general public. I’m not saying there is a person on person race issue, I am saying there is institutionalized racism. That no matter what race you are, if you are trained in a certain profession, you will be trained to murder races that are not white. There are PLENTY of cases where a white man has been armed and harmed/killed individuals, has created a hostile environment and is resisting arrest. That man is in jail today, as he should be, because he was taken down as a trained police officer should do – despite being armed for battle. He never went for his gun, he was on the ground, resisting doesn’t warrant murder, previous crimes does not warrant murder, being a policeman does not make murder allowable. Just because someone isn’t charged or they are acquitted does not mean they were not wrong or that they did not do it (OJ). This is murder. This is wrong. What happened in MN was wrong…to Freddy was wrong. People shouldn’t lose their lives for nonsense. Most of these men are unarmed. I find it hard to believe that killing them was the ONLY solutions. You say calm down I say stir up. Where is your outrage that people are taking out in the middle of the street. You’re upset that someone shut down an interstate but not upset that someone was murdered? Think about how this is wrong, speak about how this is wrong, stand up for how wrong this is. This is not not new…it is just newly documented.

        • Crys says:

          Well said

        • Lucifer says:

          Calm down.

        • Gregory House says:

          Switch to decaf.

        • Rob Horine says:

          Wait, what? Sexual offender and domestic battery are ‘minor’ offensives? Such a person having a gun is a crime. Dude should have dropped the gun and things would have ended much differently.

          Also the cops were told he had a gun. WHen they say ‘drop the gun’, it isn’t a request. Until the gun gets out of reach, it’s still in play. And it could kill one of the cops. It seems you would be okay if Sterling shot the two cops. After all, those racist cops got what was coming to them, right?

          • Ryan says:

            HE NEVER TOUCHED THE GUN! He was pinned to the ground after being tased. Someone screamed gun and then they shot him. His arms were down. What was he doing, shooting them with his penis? According to multiple witnesses, they pulled it off of him after they shot him by literally taking it out of his pants! In no way shape or form should anyone, black or blue, be dying, but know your facts.

      • Bill says:

        When somebody comes out of nowhere and tackles you to the ground, I’d like to see how YOU react! I’ve been there, and quite frankly, when 4 police officers jumped on me and one of them burned my leg with a lit cigar, I kind of reacted instead of going limp… and they charged me with “disturbing the peace” for loudly protesting that they were hurting me!

    • madison says:

      Yes, because that’s justice and that was how our legal system was set up to work. No person deserves to be executed for the list you so unkindly and unnecessarily provided. I know replying to you is almost pointless and maybe his race had nothing to do with it. Regardless, it’s people that have such a lack of respect for human life and spew hateful uninformed crap like you that are part of the problem.

      • Gregory House says:

        But coming to conclusion before all the evidence is gathered and examined that the cops killed him because he was black and they’re all racists is exactly how the legal system works…
        As for my ‘unkindness,’ the truth is usually unkind. Choosing to be uninformed about the nature of the man and why this conflict escalated so terribly is why thickheaded fools like yourself are unwilling to accept that sometimes bad people die because of their own stupidity and not because of injustice that’s real or imagined.

    • Joey says:

      You know, the reason why that commenter said your list was completely unnecessary was because, as you mentioned in your comment, all the police officers knew was that someone had supposedly threatened someone else with a gun outside the store. That’s all they knew. They didn’t know anything about his prior crimes. They didn’t know his parole status. They didn’t know any of what you said other than someone supposedly threatened another person with a gun. So using those points as justification for the police murdering him, which, yes, they murdered him, is ignorance at best and willfilly misleading other readers at worst.

      • Bill says:

        Not really. That is brought up to show he’s not the angel that the left and media will have you believe

        • Joey says:

          So you’re trying to push the narrative that he deserved what he got. Which is par for the course for conservatives, sadly.

  3. David4 says:

    I never knew a cop was cop, judge, jury and executioner all in one! That’s amazing.

    Racists idiots in this world are the reason we are doomed to Trump.

    • Lucifer says:

      I didn’t know a black person being shot by the cops automatically equals because of racism and no other reason at all. And you call others racist…

    • Joe says:

      Typical liberal, you don’t agree with me so you’re racist

      • Joey says:

        When you’re actively pushing a racist narrative, then, yes, you’re a racist. Sorry if that hurts your delicate sensibilities.

  4. Rob Horine says:

    I am glad Mr. WIlmore knows everything. Why bother with an investigation and finding of facts when we have this unfunny jerk boiling things down to the lowest common denominator.

    Hey, we could also skip the trial as well and just put the cops into a deep hole.

    Oh yeah. Sterling had a gun. And Sterling was a convicted felon.

    Wilmore thinks you shouldn’t have a gun if you’re a felon (something many folks agree with).

    Thank you, sir. For turning logic on it’s ear and not waiting for an investigation to pan out.

  5. Is he reaching for a gun or his wallet? We know there is a crime problem in the black community. Needs to be education on all sides!

    • Ryan says:

      Wrong black man (scary right, more than one dead guy?!). The one who reached for his wallet, after doing exactly what he was ordered to while also doing exactly what any concealed carry class will teach you (immediately alert an officer if you are carrying and that you are licensed to do so), was the man in MN, Philando Castile. He was a man without an criminal record and who was beloved by the local community. Figured I’d throw that out there before anyone tries to find his rap sheet. He didn’t have one.

      What sickens me more than anything is, ok, lets say the officer had a fear for his life and felt he needed to shoot. You’ve shot. Ok. The man is clearly in distress and no longer a threat. We don’t check for a pulse? We don’t call for an ambulance for minutes?! We keep the gun on a woman and a child and still pointed at the man who is clearly bleeding out but might make it if an ambulance shows up and we prevent the woman in the car from even holding him as he dies? It’s the lack of humanity that just makes my blood run cold.

  6. Being a policeman should not result in execution either. At a protest 5 police were killed by a sniper. This is out of control.

  7. r says:

    Your a idiot racists through and through. Look at the national numbers on police shootings. More Caucasions killed than Afro Americans. Numbers say it all. Read em then do your silly sound bites. Then bite a brick..

    • jazzyt2u says:

      Are they in proportion to the number of black vs white in this country? Are the whites that are killed unarmed like a lot of the blacks people? Please let me know what the numbers say.

  8. When the [United States] Justice system weeds out and convicts racist cops — the problem will be resolved. (And, there is not one American, in this country, who does not want this ‘problem’ resolved. Like NOW.)

    (PEACE.)