Trevor Noah on police brutality

He uses the George Floyd trial and the shooting this week of Daunte Wright to make some very sharp points about how police behavior will never change as long as they keep getting away with things like this. The resignations of the police officer who shot Wright and her police chief and the firing of one of the police officers who pepper sprayed and threatened Caron Nazario is perhaps a sign that the wall of immunity is showing at least some cracks.


  1. sonofrojblake says

    “perhaps a sign that the wall of immunity is showing at least some cracks”

    The wall is solid. Resignations /firings allow the accused, after their inevitable acquittal, to get a job as a cop somewhere else.

  2. says

    We have been trying incremental change since reconstruction. I don’t know what Plan B is but incremental change and thoughts and prayers aren’t gonna do it.

  3. GerrardOfTitanServer says


    We have been trying incremental change since reconstruction. I don’t know what Plan B is but incremental change and thoughts and prayers aren’t gonna do it.

    I’ve been ranting on it for years.

    End qualified immunity.

    Bring back the common law right of the victim and family of the victim to have first opportunity to seek indictment from a (government) grand jury and to choose themself or any attorney to be prosecutor.

    Drastically reduce all special police powers over use of force, including detention, arrest, search, and seizure. The rules for use of force by police should be based on the old common law principle that if the police have time to go to a judge or magistrate to get a warrant, then they should be obliged to get a warrant. In particular example, overturn Atwater and say that cops shouldn’t be allowed to arrest anyone without a warrant except for probable cause of felony offenses, or if they’re a personal witness to a particular kind of non-felony but serious offense which must be dealt with immediately (“breach of the peace” offense in ye olde terminology”).

    A critical piece here is that these new rules must be documented and published in official cop training manuals that include extensive and detailed scenarios, and violations of these training manuals must carry presumption of fault in court. It’s not enough to have general principles, but these general principles must be spelled out ad nauseam in many, many different scenarios.

    To stress my point:

    Being a cop is not an especially dangerous job, and we must refuse the demands by many people to give wide-ranging discretionary power to the police under the false narrative that they deserve it because it is a dangerous job. Everyone should be equal before the law, including the police. To the largest extent possible, police should be treated legally as any other citizen, or as a bounty hunter, licensed, but with no special powers without a warrant.

    I seen this explained best by Terry Pratchett in “Snuff”:

    It always embarrassed Samuel Vimes when civilians tried to speak to him in what they thought was ‘policeman’. If it came to that, he hated thinking of them as civilians. What was a policeman, if not a civilian with a uniform and a badge? But they tended to use the term these days as a way of describing people who were not policemen. It was a dangerous habit: once policemen stopped being civilians the only other thing they could be was soldiers.

    Unfortunately, too many people think that this idea is so radical that they won’t even entertain it. They’ve been brainwashed since birth that we need to live in a police state to be safe, where we need the police as standing army to be safe, and it’s all a load of shit. The police are the standing army that the founders warned us about. It’s such a radical idea to many that they don’t even realize what I’m really talking about, which is requiring warrants for almost every single search and seizure, with certain well-defined exceptions like traffic citations, building code inspectors, restaurant food safety inspectors, and the like.

    But one example: If a cop points a gun at me, they better have a damn good reason, and that reason should be judged as though they’re just a random person on the street. Merely being detained for a traffic ticket should not be a good enough reason to point a gun at someone. If they point a gun at someone without good reason, me, the victim, should be able to prosecute them in court for assault / brandishing, and they should go to jail.

  4. jrkrideau says

    @ 3 GerrardOfTitanServer
    If a cop points a gun at me, they better have a damn good reason
    Where I live this automatically initiates an investigation by the provincial Special Investigations Unit, a non-police body.

    It has some serious problems but does good work.

  5. bmiller says

    Gerrard: VERY interesting arguments. I am going to steal this! Don’t send the SWAT team after me!

  6. mnb0 says

    @3: “What was a policeman, if not a civilian with a uniform and a badge?”
    A tool to protect the state against civilians.

    “In the US, there is basically one party -- the business party. It has two factions.”
    Noam Chomsky

    “Democracy is, by definition, that type of government by which the rulers can be dismissed by the ruled without bloodshed.”
    Karl Popper

    If Chomsky is right (and I think he overall is) the USA is not a democracy. The electorate cannot get rid of the one ruling party with non-violent means, so it seems to me. In non-democracies the task of armed forces is not to protect the rights of civilians; hence the wall of immunity. Like Sonofrojblake I don’t expect that to change any time soon; as so often last few months I hope to be proven wrong. Given that so many well meaning Americans delude themselves on this fundamental problem makes that “hope” tends to become “despair”.

  7. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To jrkrideau
    That sounds great. I don’t think we need the common law right of the victim to press charges, but I think it would work. My problem is that I’m highly dubious about whether such a police oversight body could be made to work in the current American cultural climate, and that’s why I’m favoring a victim-driven process. Of course, my proposal for a victim-driven process is probably a political pipedream -- again because of the current American culture climate. Basically, how does one convince most of the American public that we don’t need militarized police to be safe?

    To bmiller
    While I am definitely not proposing going back in time on most policies, I am proposing going back in time on one or two policies, and knowign the history of the history of the criminal justice system of America is so important because it’s so radical from today’s majority belief that we need to live in a police state to be safe. It’s a headtrip to see just how far we have fallen in terms of individual rights and living in a police state. Please see:

    Seton Hall Constitutional L.J. 2001, 685


    Roger Roots*


    I think that’s an oversimplification of reality, and I am tempted to say that even Chom would agree. There are significant and substantive policy differences if one is not a rich healthy cis-straight white male protestant. But I do agree that both parties are significantly beholden to the interests of the rich. But again, I think that this problem can be better explained with stories other than class warfare, such as racism. Rich people don’t benefit from the cops being so militarized and shooting people all the time, especially black people. I think you’re taking your favorite hobby-horse and applying it where it does not apply.

  8. Sam N says

    Hey Gerrard, last time I interacted with you was regarding using nuclear as energy.

    Just wanted to say I dig your posts, even when I don’t agree with *everything* (there you were making good points, too). A few American are listening and don’t view your suggestions as radical, at all.

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