Following the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday, several late night hosts addressed the news at the start of their shows. Expressing surprise, appreciation and relief, the comedians kept things notably serious as they reflected on the trial and the verdict.
Jimmy Fallon, James Corden, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert all made special remarks addressing the trial’s outcome, and what it means for justice and the fight against systemic racism in America.
Here’s a roundup of some of Tuesday night’s powerful monologues and emotional reflections from the hosts of late night TV talk shows.
“Just before the taping of our show today, the verdict was announced in the trial of Derek Chauvin. He was found guilty on all three counts in the death of George Floyd. After 10 hours of deliberation, a jury in Minneapolis decided that it’s illegal for the police to murder people. That Black lives matter,” a sombre Colbert shared at the start of Tuesday’s “The Late Show”, which taped minutes after the verdict was announced.
“It’s hard to celebrate, because a man is still dead, but there is a sense of relief that at least this one injustice was not compounded with indifference,” he continued, adding that it “easily could have gone the other way,” as our nation “does not have a great track record on this subject.”
“At least in this case, this man faces accountability,” Colbert said of Chauvin. “But justice is a far more difficult goal. America still has a problem of over-policing and systemic racism. But hopefully, this is a step towards a future where police being held accountable for their actions isn’t headline material. And a hope that accountability today is a deterrent for tomorrow.”
Fallon opened Tuesday’s “Tonight Show” with a heartfelt address to his audience in the opening moments, sharing the sentiments that justice was served with Chauvin’s conviction, but it doesn’t mean the fight for equality or accountability is over.
“Too often, justice isn’t served and the need for police reform remains,” Fallon shared. “We all must continue to call out injustice until things change for the better.”
“I think we’re all grateful it went the way it did. In this case, the jury made the correct decision, a unanimous decision, which is a step in the right direction,” Kimmel shared, as part of his monologue. “I hope the verdict itself brings comfort to the family of George Floyd and all those who mourn his death.”
“I’d also like to say, Good luck in prison, Derek. You’ll need it,” Kimmel added. “That’s right. I hope you’re there for a very long time.”
“While we are relieved that some justice has been served, the truth is the real justice will be George Floyd being alive today,” a sombre Corden said at the top of the latest episode of “The Late Late Show”. “Real justice would be Black Americans not having to live in fear of being stopped by police and killed, and surely that is a verdict that we need to work towards, and that can be the verdict that one day we can celebrate.”
“Tonight, everyone here at the show, we are thinking of George Floyd’s family, his friends and his loved ones,” Corden added.
The jury reportedly deliberated for 10 hours over two days before returning with their verdict on Tuesday.
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher said in his closing arguments, presented on Monday, that the jury should focus on the evidence before their eyes — specifically, the video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, leading to his death.
“Believe your eyes,” Schleicher said, according to CBS News. “Unreasonable force, pinning him to the ground — that’s what killed him. This was a homicide.”
The three other officers involved in the arrest that claimed Floyd’s life are charged with aiding and abetting. Their trial is expected to begin in August.
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