On Friday night, the panel returned to Bill Maher’s Real Time, with former CNN anchor turned podcaster Soledad O’Brien and Ian Bremmer, who is an expert on absolutely nothing, joining the comic to discuss the big news stories of the week—including then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin crushing an unarmed (and handcuffed) black man, George Floyd, to death by burying his knee into his neck for nine minutes, fully aware that they were being captured on camera by bystanders. (Chauvin has since been arrested and charged with third-degree murder.)
Thankfully, Maher didn’t address the protests in the aftermath of Floyd’s excruciating murder (because we know how that would’ve gone), instead focusing on how it was “a replay of the Eric Garner incident,” and why he’s not the least bit surprised that black people by and large don’t want to vote for Donald Trump, who is “all-in on the cops” and once gleefully endorsed police brutality during a speech to a crowd of cops. As O’Brien explained, “America is very racist, and in fact, we have a huge problem with white supremacy and sometimes that plays out in policing.’”
Indeed, as we’ve repeatedly seen, there are plenty of white nationalists within our nation’s police.
“It’s amazing to me that the police are still doing this when they’re on camera, when there’s a crowd filming them, because we’ve been in this ‘we’ve caught bad cops on tape’ era now for almost a decade,” said Maher, even though the Rodney King incident happened in 1992, so it’s really been more like 28 years. “You think they’d go, oh shit, there’s a crowd with a camera…What is it with the cops that they’re still doing this? Is it the training?”
Then Maher forwarded his theory for why it keeps happening. “Is it not more about the attitude? I feel like with the police, and I know most police are good even though we have a lot of bad videos—I’ve certainly known cops, personally known them, and they are not bad people, they are very good people, and it is a very difficult job—but it does seem like we attract the wrong type sometimes,” he argued. “You know, the one who is going to make up for high school. This guy seemed to have done this just because the crowd said ‘stop doing it,’ and he said ‘I’m not going to. I’m in charge.’ It’s always about recognizing my authority. The essence, to me, of the police problem is: bad attitude.”
In reality it goes far deeper than that, but hey, it’s a start.