It’s been a while since Larry Wilmore has been forced to discuss the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man on The Nightly Show. And that’s a good thing. But on Wednesday night, he felt he had no choice but to cover the tragic death of Louisiana man Alton Sterling, which was caught on cell phone video for the whole world to see.
When Wilmore and his colleagues at the show first saw the video, he said they were rendered “speechless” and were not sure if the story belonged on a comedy show. But as he has demonstrated repeatedly over the past year and a half, a platform like The Nightly Show can be the perfect place to address the issue.
“Thank God for fucking cell phones,” Wilmore said. “Really. Because we would never even hear about incidents like this otherwise. In fact, part of what makes people in the black community so enraged about this is for years, we never had evidence for these things.”
Wilmore didn’t buy the theory that the police officers’ body cameras “fell off” during the incident and doubted that the Justice Department could be relied on to hold them accountable. “The same Department of Justice that handled Hillary’s emails?” he asked. “I don’t think black people are waiting for these cops to be excused because the FBI says they were just ‘careless.’”
The host went on to impugn law enforcement for dragging out Sterling’s criminal record after the fact, adding, “Martha Stewart has a criminal record. I don’t remember her being executed in a convenience store parking lot.”
“No matter what his crimes were, Alton Sterling did not deserve to be executed for them,” Wilmore continued. “Look guys, the punishment for resisting arrest shouldn’t be death. The punishment for selling bootleg CDs shouldn’t be death. The punishment for having a gun in an open-carry state shouldn’t be death. The punishment for being a black man shouldn’t be death.”