Oliver began by pointing out that the whole thing is sadly familiar, saying that “And there are so many unanswered questions regarding why an officer would shoot an unarmed teenager. What is clear is that they handled everything since then terribly.”
He used that as a launching pad, diving into criticism against every official at every level in Missouri, from the police chief to the mayor and the governor, blasting them for tone-deafness, and their hostility towards the citizens of Ferguson. He reserved his most pointed attacks, however, for the police themselves — and not just Ferguson police, but police throughout the country.
After making it clear that “not all cops are bad,” he dove into the meat of the problem: the increasing militarization of police, caused by the war on drugs and the September 11 attacks.
Referencing what has since become the famous photo of police marching towards an unarmed African American man with his hands in the air, Oliver said that “Now, you might also notice that in photo that the police are troublingly dressed like they’re about to launch an assault on Fallujah. Well, it turns out that that is no coincidence.”
He then proceeded to rip into the police:
“The police are not soldiers. So why in this photo from Ferguson are they wearing fucking camo? They are northwest of St. Louis, not northwest of the Amazon.” He added that, “If you are a cop in the United States, you should dress for the job you have, not the job you want. Because if you have all this equipment, it’s going to go to your head. So how do you improve things? Well, you could demilitarize the police force, but that would just change the optics. The substance of the problem would still be there. ”
And after playing a video of Jay Nixon calling for a curfew, he hit the home run:
“Oh perfect. So you took a community tired of being treated like criminals and imprisoned them in their houses for the night. That is profoundly patronizing. If even the governor can’t distinguish between the good and the bad elements of the community, than that should go both ways: I know the police love their ridiculous, unnecessary military equipment, so here’s another patronizing test. Let’s take it all away from them, and if they make it through a whole month without killing a single unarmed black man, then, and only then, will they get their fucking toys back.”
You can watch the video below.