Late-night TV on Chauvin verdict: ‘More work to be done’

Some late-night TV hosts adjusted their coverage plans Tuesday to address the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

After the former Minneapolis police officer was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, “The Late Show,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Tonight Show” each aired segments welcoming the jury’s decision.

Chauvin was convicted Tuesday on all three charges brought against him — manslaughter, second-degree murder and third-degree murder — after pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.

“I think we’re all grateful it went the way that it did,” Kimmel said as the audience applauded the conviction on his show.

“In this case, the jury made the correct decision — a unanimous decision — which is a step in the right direction. And I hope the verdict itself brings comfort to the family of George Floyd and all those who mourn his death. … Good luck in prison, Derek. You’ll need it. … I hope you’re there for a very long time.”

On “The Tonight Show,” Jimmy Fallon invited Joy Reid, host of MSNBC’s “The ReidOut,” to break down the outcome of the trial and what it means for the U.S. criminal justice system. Reid said she expected Chauvin to be found guilty after a “very quick return of a verdict” from the jury, which deliberated for about 11 hours.

She added, however, that she is “very cynical about charges against police” after no officers were convicted in the killings of Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and other Black victims of police violence.

“I tend to go with the statistics that show … about 2% of police officers are ever convicted of killing someone — let alone killing somebody Black,” Reid said, “I steel myself for [police] to not be charged. And then if they’re charged, I steel myself emotionally for them to be acquitted because that’s normally what happens. …

“It did feel like the momentum was going in the prosecution’s direction, but I didn’t dare assume that that was going to be the outcome.”

Tuesday’s verdict marked the first time in Minnesota history that a white police officer has been convicted of murdering a Black person, a milestone Reid called “revolutionary.”

“We’ve established a line that was drawn by police — a line that was drawn in the criminal justice system — that you just can’t kill a man in front of witnesses, including a 9-year-old, on video camera and walk away from it,” she said.

“It’s important that we draw that line, because law enforcement is losing the consent of the governed. They’re losing credibility with the American people, particularly in communities of color. This needed to go this way … for our society to be able to take a step forward.”

On “The Late Show,” Stephen Colbert stressed that a single conviction is “hard to celebrate because a man is still dead,” but hoped that the absence of “indifference” toward Floyd’s murder could bring about greater change.

“This nation does not have a great track record on this subject, but at least in this case, this man faces accountability,” Colbert said. “But justice is a far more difficult goal. America still has a problem of overpolicing and systemic racism, but hopefully this is a step toward a future where police being held accountable for their actions isn’t headline material …

“Today is one stop on a journey that began last May and led to protests calling for that accountability in every town and every city in America, but this is just one stop. There is more work to be done, and it’s work that all of us should be committed to because … justice for Black America is justice for all America.”

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