Trevor Noah isn’t just angry about the recent acquittal of Philando Castile’s shooter. He’s heartbroken.
On Wednesday’s Daily Show, Noah played newly released dashcam footage of the moment Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot Castile five times during a July 2016 traffic stop. Prefacing the footage, Noah remarked, “If you’ve already watched this video, you don’t have to watch it again. I wouldn’t say anyone has to watch this video, but if you haven’t seen it, it is graphic and you probably should watch it.
“I won’t lie to you: When I watched this video, it broke me. It just— it broke me,” he continued. “You see so many of these videos and you start to get numb. But this one? Seeing the child — that little girl getting out of the car after watching a man get killed — it broke my heart into little pieces.” After reflecting on stereotypes about black dads, Noah emphasized, “that‘s a black dad that’s gone. That’s a child that grows up not knowing what it’s like to have somebody in their life.” He then tried to make sense of all of the solutions that were meant to stop police shootings like this one from happening.
“For years, people said… just give the police body cameras [and] film everything, then there will be no question about what happened. And black people have already taken that initiative; thanks to cellphones, every black person has a body camera now,” including Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who filmed the immediate aftermath of the shooting and her interaction with Yanez. But worst of all, Noah said, was that the jury saw this footage and still somehow sided with the officer.
“Having watched that video, having listened to that exchange, they still said ‘Yes, I can see why that cop was afraid.’ But why?” Noah asked. “Let’s be honest… Why would you say he was afraid? Was it because Philando Castile was being polite? Was it because he was following the officer’s instructions? Was it because he was in the car with his family? Or was it because Philando Castile was black?
“It’s one thing to have the system against you — the district attorneys, the police unions, the courts — that’s one thing. But when a jury of your peers — your community — sees this evidence and decides that even this is self-defense, that is truly depressing. Because what they’re basically saying is, ‘in America, it is officially reasonable to be afraid of a person just because they’re black.'”
Press PLAY on the video above to watch Noah’s somber commentary in full, then sound off below.