"Where are the cops who are stopping the cop from putting their knee on George Floyd's neck?"
Trevor Noah called out the "bad apple" excuse used for police violence against Black people, arguing that there doesn't appear to be any "good apple" cops ever intervening during the incidents.
"We're told time and time again that these incidents that Black Americans are experiencing are because of bad apples, right?" "The Daily Show" host said Wednesday. "'There are bad apples in these police departments who are doing these things. They use chokeholds that are not allowed. They use excessive force. They're violent in their words and in their actions to the people they're meant to be protecting and serving. These are bad apples, we gotta root them out of the force.'"
"My question, though, is where are the good apples?" he continued. "If we're meant to believe that the police system in America, the system of policing itself is not fundamentally broken, then we would need to see good apples."
He explained he doesn't believe there are "no good police men," but was asking "where the good apples are."
"Where are the cops who are stopping the cop from putting their knee on George Floyd's neck? Because there's not one cop at that scene. There's one cop who's on trial, but there's not one cop at that scene."
The video came just days after Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop, only miles away from where Floyd was killed at the hands of the police in May 2020. Trevor also referenced the video of Caron Nazario, a Black and Latino second lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps, who had guns drawn on him and was pepper sprayed by police, after a traffic stop over missing license plates.
"We don't see a mass uprising of police saying we need to root out these people," he continued. "We don't see videos of police officers stopping the other cop from pushing an old man at a Black Lives Matter protest or from beating up a kid in the street with a baton. We don't see that."
Trevor went on to clarify that he believes there are many good people on the police force who want to do good, but the reason they are not stepping in or attempting to root out the "bad apples" is because "they themselves know that if they do something, they're going against the system." And the system is "more powerful than any individual" and one which keeps "poor people in their place" who are disproportionately Black, according to Trevor.
"It's not broken, it's working the way it's designed to work," he continued.
"Once you realize that, I feel like you get to a place where you go, 'Oh, we're not dealing with bad apples -- we're dealing with a rotten tree that happens to grow good apples.' But for the most part, the tree that was planted is bearing the fruits that it was intended to."
On Thursday, Trevor's speech went viral. Keep reading for the reactions, below.
Trevor Noah is the clearest, most intelligent voice in American media today. Listen all the way through this. The "Aha!" Moment is breathtaking. https://t.co/rPPy1Y0Ypd
Trevor Noah asked where the “good apples” have been when excessive use of force occurs. Well, here’s one who got fired for intervening. Noah is right: It’s not just bad apples that are the problem. The whole tree is rotten. https://t.co/h5xCh75Vj4
I work alongside a good apple. He did the right thing, so his former colleagues decided he couldn't be an apple anymore. I'm glad to work with him, he's absolutely fantastic. But I'd be gladder (and safer) if he were the apple responding to my 911 call.