On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver proved why dangerous cops in America aren’t just “bad apples” misrepresenting the profession. The host argued that metaphor was too simplistic for the complex issue. Instead, he held America’s police and judicial systems responsible for disallowing positive change.
“The phrase isn’t ‘it’s just a few bad apples – don’t worry about it,'” Oliver said. “The phrase is ‘a few bad apples spoil the barrel.’ And we currently have a system which is set up to ignore bad apples, destroy bad apples’ records, persecute good apples for speaking up and shuffle dangerous, emotionally unstable apples around to the point that children have to attend fucking apple classes. You cannot look at our current situation and claim that anybody likes them apples.”
Seventy-seven officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter since 2005, and only 26 to date have been convicted, according to CNN. Oliver hypothesized why so few police officers are held accountable when they break the law: a lack of substantial data, internal police pressure and the automatic positive perception cops have in the courtroom. “Even when cases go to trial, officers have a major advantage, which is juries tend to have a natural predisposition to trust them,” Oliver said.
The comedian ended the segment by focusing on ways to weed out these so-called “bad apples,” such as implementing wider usage of body cameras, which “have increased trust and transparency in many places,” he said.