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.”