Well, that wasn’t the case last night as Stewart was unlike I’ve ever seen him before – at least when it comes to the type of persona he portrays on his show. While there were still bits and pieces of comedy sprinkled into last night’s segment where he discussed the decision not to indict the police officer who used a chokehold on Eric Garner, which ultimately led to Garner’s death, Stewart was about as frustrated and serious as I’ve ever seen him.
“I don’t know,” Stewart frustratingly said. “I honestly don’t know what to say. If comedy is tragedy plus time, I need more f*cking time. But I would really settle for less f*cking tragedy, to be honest with you.”
He went on to say that this case was different than the Michael Brown case because in this instance there was video evidence of what actually happened, unlike Ferguson where the only real evidence of what actually happened was conflicting witness testimony and forensic evidence that was not always conclusive.
He then went on to ask what’s the point of police wearing body cameras if even when we have video evidence it doesn’t seem to matter.
“I mean, maybe, to look at the bright side, we’re about to save ourselves a sh*tload of money on cop camera vests,” Stewart said sarcastically.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen Stewart more frustrated. And I understand why. Even a medical examiner ruled the death of Garner a homicide due in large part to the chokehold that was administered. Though they also said that poor health conditions such as heart disease, his weight and asthma also played a part in Garner’s death.
At the very least this cop should have been put on trial to let a jury decide whether or not he should be punished based on the video evidence alone. And while I don’t think the police officer meant to kill Garner, it’s undeniable that his death was at least partially a result of the actions of that officer.
Though I will say I think it’s unfair to say that Eric Garner is dead because he’s black and the cop was white. If you want to chalk this up to police brutality, I feel there’s a legitimate argument to be made there. But just because a situation like this involves a black male and a white officer doesn’t always make it racially motivated. The fact is Garner had been convicted previously for the very crime these officers were confronting him about during this exchange, and he was resisting arrest. I’m not saying that excuses the officer for using what many feel was excessive force to subdue Garner, but we can’t disregard all the facts of the case just to assume it was racially motivated.
But it was certainly a bit surreal to see Jon Stewart, normally upbeat and cynical, seem so hopelessly frustrated as he spoke about this entire situation.
Watch the short segment below via Comedy Central: