Today’s reminder that Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman killed by a police raid in Louisville, Kentucky, still has not received justice comes from John Oliver on Last Week Tonight. The February 28 episode focused on drug raids, which studies show police disproportionately use to target people of color, and how police officers are being incentivized with military equipment and training. “The obvious danger of fostering a militarized police culture that trains and equips officers like a lead in an action movie is that it can encourage them to act like that,” he said, pulling up footage of a 2017 raid in which officers blew down a door of a man they suspected of having cocaine (he did not). They then asked to watch his security-camera footage of their “awesome” destruction of property while he was still handcuffed. Not to mention the man’s dog was right in front of the door when it exploded. Say sorry!
Even with warrants, which judges can approve electronically in seconds, police have made mistakes like raiding the wrong house and looking for people who were currently in federal prison, according to Oliver. The overuse of raids is traumatizing for the targets and the people of color who have to internalize a police force that “sees their lives as an opportunity for an action-movie cosplay.” “The police hitting the wrong address is just completely unacceptable when the stakes are so high,” he said, before digressing. “Even Edible Arrangements manages to deliver to the correct address, and that business is just pure chaotic evil. ‘Happy anniversary. Please enjoy this flavorless crucified melon.’”
Speaking of flavorless melons, Oliver took time off the top of this week’s episode to call out Governor Andrew Cuomo. Just last week, two former aides accused him of sexual harassment, which he denied. On Wednesday, February 24, the same day the first accuser came forward, Cuomo went in front of the press and joked about giving his state senator a vaccination in a surprising “part of the anatomy.” “Is it his penis, Andrew?” asked Oliver. “Are you going to vaccine him in the penis? Because, to be honest, I would actually be surprised if you wanted to vaccinate him in the penis. The vein is hard to find, practitioners generally recommend the nondominant arm, and also — what the fuck is wrong with you?!”