It has been 20 weeks since Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her own home. And the cops who killed her still have not been arrested.
“If you’re online a lot, you’ve probably seen Breonna Taylor being turned into just another meme,” Trevor Noah said on Thursday night near the top of the 12-minute segment he dedicated to her story. While the people keeping her name “trending” may be “well-intentioned,” the Daily Show host said they were “essentially using her name as a punchline.”
“Memes are not the best way to honor someone who has passed,” he continued. “It’s the reason Obama didn’t dab at John Lewis’ funeral today.” So instead of using jokes to examine her case, Noah instead decided to take viewers on a journey about her life and unnecessary death.
After playing an extended montage about what Taylor was really like as a person, Noah said, “It’s actually nice to see the news covering a Black person’s death at the hands of police by using their good pictures and not that one picture that makes us all look like we’ve robbed 50 banks.” He added that “you know Breonna Taylor was a good person, because if she had jay-walked once, the news would have been like, ‘Frequent jay-walker and occasionally EMT Breonna Taylor was sadly killed by the police.”
For the next several minutes, Noah recounted exactly how officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department ended up executing a so-called “no-knock warrant,” busting into Taylor’s apartment and fatally shooting her eight times even though they “should never have even been” there in the first place.
“They used bogus intel and came in guns blazing, even though they knew she wasn’t a threat,” he said. “Every step of the way this investigation ran, the police screwed up. They made a million mistakes, which are a million more than any Black person is ever allowed to make.” Then he corrected himself, saying they weren’t “mistakes” at all, but rather “just actively not giving a fuck.”
“It’s one thing to shoot someone ‘accidentally’ eight times,” Noah added. “But leaving her on the floor without any medical attention? That isn’t an accident. That’s just a blatant disregard for Black life.”
And while those cops have still not been charged for the killing, Noah pointed out that dozens of mostly Black protesters in Louisville have been arrested. “Every single day in America, we’re reminded that there are different criminal justice systems, depending on who you are,” he said. “There’s one for the rich and one for the poor. There’s one for white people, and there’s a different one for Black people.”
“And apparently there’s also one for those who oppose police brutality and those who commit it,” he added.
Noah ended by telling viewers, “What happened to Breonna Taylor wasn’t a failure of the system, it was the system working as it’s intended. And that is why people are fighting for the system to be changed.”
For more, listen to Daily Show correspondent Dulcé Sloan on The Last Laugh podcast.