Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 3, Episode 24 - Police Accountability - full transcript

John lampoons the Trump campaign for the week following his first debate with Hillary Clinton, and briefly updates the current inquiry into the fraud involving Wells Fargo. The main story tackles police accountability, and how systemic and customary practices can impede this process.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -


Welcome to Last Week Tonight !

I'm John Oliver.
Thank you for joining us.

We begin with the 2016 election,
as it's more commonly known,

"What did I do to deserve this,
I tried to be a good person is this"

"because I stole candy in 4th grade
please stop punishing us" 2016.

This week
saw the first presidential debate.

Donald Trump's performance

consisted mainly of an incoherent
jumble of sniffles and nonsense,

like a racist toddler
coming out of dental surgery.

And it all culminated
in this amazing assertion.

I think my strongest asset,
maybe by far, is my temperament.

I have a winning temperament.
I know how to win.

That is an incredible statement.

If he had said:
"I am a small Korean woman"

it would have been
more believable.

And you can't incoherently rant
about having the best temperament.

That is a claim that disproves itself.

It's like getting a forehead tattoo:
"I have excelent judgement".

But we then saw what
a "winning temperament" means.

It's a temperament that allows you
to insist that you won something

that you demonstrably lost.

Trump spent the last 7 days
citing his victories

in what he called
"final debate polls",

peppering his rallies
with boasts like this.

And so we won
every single online poll.

Hundreds and hundreds
of thousands of voters.

Almost every single poll

had us winning the debate
against crooked Hillary Clinton.

Every single online poll
said we won, which is great.

First of all, he did not win
every single online poll.

He didn't win this BuzzFeed poll
about whether candy corn is good.

If you are wondering who did win that,
it was BuzzFeed, you idiots.

BuzzFeed wins every BuzzFeed poll.

The clear problem with online polls

is that you can vote anonymously
as many times as you want.

That is how, when a British government
agency held a name our ship poll,

the people's overwhelming choice
was "Boaty McBoatface".

It's how, when there was an internet
vote on where Pitbull should perform,

he ended up, and this is true,
in an Alaska Wal-Mart.

And yet, Trump kept citing
these nonsense polls,

as did his media boosters,
like Sean Hannity.

the list was really long,

Trump won the debate
in these online polls.

And everyone's gonna say
they're not scientific. I hear it.

Do you, though ?
I'm not sure you do.

I'm not sure you even hear
what your own company is saying,

because Fox News sent out an internal
memo saying that such polls, quote:

"Do not meet our editorial standards".

Shocking, since I was pretty sure
Fox News's only "editorial standards"

were "All ladies must be 8's or above"
and "Try not to say the N-word".

The Trump campaign's insistence that
online polls were just as good as real

ones was beginning
to drive people nuts.

The polls that happened that night,
night of the debate,

the ones that happen online,
those all showed Mr. Trump winning.

What scientific poll
had Donald Trump winning ?

Everything else was...
Those are fan polls, man.

Those are polls that computer
programmers can mess with.

Hillary's got support from the insiders
and from the media,

Mr. Trump's got support
from the people.

Jason, you've been doing this a while.
You know those are bogus !

Look how frustrated he is !
Chuck Todd's head is about to explode.

And this pains him, because
he's talking to a fellow goateewearer.

They stick together against a world
that makes fun of their facial hair.

But there was an even more
inexplicable narrative developing.

Because Trump did score a few points
early on against Hillary Clinton.

He could've spent the whole week
talking about those.

But he fixated on one particular thing
she said towards the end of the night.

One of the worst things he said
was about a woman in a beauty contest.

He called this woman "Miss Piggy",

then "Miss Housekeeping",
because she was Latina.

Donald, she has a name.
Her name is Alicia Machado.

Where did you find it ?

Why does he care
where she found it ?

Is he flummoxed because it doesn't
come from any of his 3 news sources,

dudes hanging out at golf club bars,

the minotaur who talks to him in the
one hour that he sleeps every night ?

That Miss Universe moment was
a small part of a 90-minute debate.

So all Trump had to do
was not take the bait.

And yet, the next morning,
he went on Fox & Friends

and, without even being asked,
brought the subject up.

Watch the anchors' faces as it sinks
in that he is actually doing this.

She was a Miss Universe person
and she was the worst we ever had.

The worst, the absolute worst.
She was impossible,

and she was a Miss Universe
contestant and ultimately a winner

who they had a tremendously
difficult time with as Miss Universe.

- Did not know that story.
- I didn't know either.

She was the winner,
she gained a massive amount of weight,

and it was a real problem.

You can see them thinking:
"What are you doing ?"

"Don't you know it's wrong to degrade
former beauty pageant winners ?"

"We at Fox learned that,
due to the circumstances"

"of Roger Ailes' departure
from this very company."

But Trump still wasn't done.
He pressed the issue all week long

culminating in an online meltdown
in the early hours of Friday morning.

His tweet storm began at 3am
and didn't stop until about ten.

He unloaded on former Miss Universe,
Alicia Machado.

"Did crooked Hillary help disgusting
(check out sex tape and past)"

"Alicia M become a citizen so she
could use her in the debate ?"

That is a candidate
for president of the United States

urging America
to check out a sex tape.

Do me a favor up,
look up into the sky right now.

Higher. No, higher still.

Do you see that, way up there,
way up above the clouds ?

That's rock bottom.
And we are currently way down here.

Not that it makes it any better,

but Trump behaved
equally appallingly to her face,

during a 1997 CBS interview.

Alicia has done an incredible job.

She has turned out to be one
of the great Miss Universes.

And she had a little problem,
she gained a little weight...

- I don't think so.
- She's probably right.

- I don't think so.
- Okay.

Donald Trump really should've been
prepared for Monday night.

It seems he's been losing televised
debates to women for 20 years now.

Amazingly, in that same interview,
it emerged that CBS

would be running an unscientific viewer
poll during the Miss Universe pageant.

Something tells me that Donald Trump
had something to do with the question.

The viewers can call in and vote.
Let's bring up the question.

It says:
"Should a pageant title holder"

"be required to maintain her physical
appearance during her reign ?"

Why do you think
this is an important question ?

That has come up
over the last year.

It came up over that past year because
you made a media circus out of it.

Trump treats his statements
like they're Pokemon:

they're imaginary things
that he nurtures and evolves

and eventually uses
to fight with strangers.

And thus, the two threads
of this week come together:

completely unscientific polling,
which Donald Trump trusts implicitly,

and his deeply held belief
that female weight gain is a betrayal.

So here is the moment of truth:
what were the results of that poll ?

Do you think that Miss Universe,
or the pageant holder,

should be required to maintain her
physical appearance during her reign ?

Most of the people said no.

How about that, Donald ?
It seems you have a choice,

either admit
that unscientific polling is bullshit,

or that your views
on women's bodies are horrifying.

I await whatever decision you make
at 3am tonight on Twitter.

And in the meantime,

I would like to leave you all
with the wise words of Alicia Machado.

Advice for the new Miss Universe ?

Good luck. She need it.

Who knew that the advice,
'good luck, you'll need it',

would be equally applicable
to Miss Universe 1997,

and everyone in the most powerful
nation on earth ?

And now this !

And now,
newscasters quoting movies !

It's Bond, James Bond.

You can't handle the truth !

After all,
tomorrow is another day.

To infinity and beyond.

Johnny's here or whatever,
here's Johnny.

Say hello to my little friend.

- Say hello to my little friend.
- Right, just a little bit.

Say hello to my little friend.

Get down, get to the chopper !

I gotta get to the chopper.

I'll be back.

I know it was you Fredo,
you broke my heart. Godfather 2.

Alright, alright, alright.

Alright, alright, alright.

Alright, alright, alright.

Alright, alright, alright.

Show me the money.

Show me the money,
as Cuba Gooding used to say !

Moving on.
Our main story concerns the police.

As these cops show frequently have
to deal with humanity at its worst.

What's the first amendment ?

What's the first amendment ?
You don't even know !

Constitutiooooon !

Yeah. Constitution ! Read it !

And live by it.

Let's have a seat
in the back of the car.

Ron Paul 2012 !

That's perfect. It's not like
he needed to say "Ron Paul 2012".

That was implicit in everything
he said up to that point.

But it's certainly nice
to have it confirmed.

The police have been at the center
of a great deal of controversy.

From the Black Lives Matter movement,
to Colin Kaepernick's protest,

to Mary J. Blige awkwardly singing
a Springsteen song at Hillary Clinton.

Is it a gun,
is it a knife, is it a wallet,

this is your life ?

You can get killed
just for living in

your American skin.

Hillary, thank you !

God !

Hillary would have won
my undying respect

if she'd looked Mary J. Blige
straight in the face and said:

"I support your message,
but that was awkward as fuck".

"And I wish you hadn't done it".
That would've been honest.

The trust between police
and the communities they serve

is clearly a cornerstone
of civilized society.

That trust has been rocked following
controversial police shootings

from Alton Sterling,
to Philando Castile, to Tamir Rice,

to so many others,
I literally cannot mention them all.

These deaths, taken with countless
smaller incidents of police misconduct,

have led to a common refrain.

I just want the police
to be held accountable.

We want the system of policing
to be held accountable.

Those police
need to be held accountable.

Whenever they commit a crime,
whenever something goes wrong,

and I'm talking about serious stuff
like murder and whatnot,

these guys never get prosecuted.

Now those are valid frustrations.
Although, as a side note:

"Murder and Whatnot"
would be an amazing CSI spinoff.

That's a watchable show right there.

Police accountability is what we're
going to be talking about.

I should say,
as the police will tell you,

they have a difficult,
dangerous, challenging job.

No reasonable person
would disagree with that.

That's all the more reason
for ensuring that it's done perfectly.

The worst thing that happens
if a cake decorator fucks up

is you end up wishing someone
a Happy Analversary.

While that's obviously not ideal,
who knows ?

Maybe it's their analversary, too !

The police will argue that what they
have is less an institutional problem,

than it is an individual one.

There's been
some bad apples out there.

I don't think that that is indicative
of the entire police department.

But you got bad apples
in every occupation.

You're gonna have some bad apples.

They're out to protect you
and that's what policing's about.

That is a weirdly blasé attitude.
Bad apples can erode trust fast.

Snow White wasn't afraid of apples

before she took a bite
out of that one really bad one,

but the next time an old lady
comes at her with a piece of fruit,

Snow is gonna
get the fuck out of there.

That argument "it's a few bad apples"
has some real problems.

For a start, it doesn't address
bad laws and policies

that good officers
are made to enforce

which we've touched
on multiple times before.

Criminal justice is kind
of our show's signature bit.

It is to us what assessing
the shape of your poop is to Dr. Oz.

Also, you can't claim
there's just a few bad apples,

when no one knows exactly
how many there are.

There are nearly 18 000
police departments in America,

and they are not great
about reporting or sharing data.

Even some surprisingly
basic questions are hard to answer,

as the head of the FBI admits.

We can't have an informed discussion,
we don't have data.

People have data about who went to
a movie, how many books were sold,

how many cases of the flu
walked into an emergency room.

I cannot tell you how many people
were shot by police in the US

last month, last year,
or anything about the demographics.

How is that possible ? We have
numbers for almost everything !

We have ratings for how many people
watched Jeremy Piven in "Mr. Selfridge"

The government tracks how many
people are killed by falling TVs

a number inflated by people
who were watching "Mr. Selfridge"

and said "I choose death", and then
pulled the TV down on top of them.

The best numbers on police misconduct
come from a researcher, Philip Stinson,

who accumulated
over a decade's worth of data

by setting up 48 Google alerts
in 2005.

Google Alerts.
And his stats are truly chilling.

Out of thousands of fatal
police shootings since 2005,

only 77 officers have been charged
with murder or manslaughter.

And to date,
only 26 have been convicted.

And while the truth is,
many police shootings are justified,

26 seems suspiciously low.

So: how can that be the number ?
Well, broadly speaking,

most investigations of police
misconduct face a few obstacles.

And the first one is big: misconduct
is often investigated internally,

by an officer's colleagues,
which does not inspire confidence.

But if you listen to the police chief
in Bakersfield, the system is fine.

You're confident that that structure
of review is entirely impartial ?

I am.
These guys are expert in their field.

They're part of the departments.

They have hundreds of years of law
enforcement experience combined.

Here's the thing there.
Combined experience is not a thing

that automatically
makes you do a better job.

Our staff has a combined
347 years in television

and that doesn't mean we won't
throw a fuckload of raisins on a desk

and call it entertainment.

The DOJ has consistently found
flaws with internal investigations.

In Cleveland, investigators admitted
they intentionally cast an officer

in the best light possible when
investigating a use of deadly force.

In Miami, investigations took so long
that "at least two officers"

"killed a suspect while still under
investigation for a previous shooting".

And there should never be
a second one of anything

before you figure out
whether the first was justified.

Call it the "Dolphin Tale 2" rule.
How is there a second one of these ?

I thought Harry Connick Jr. ate the
dolphin at the end of the first one.

I don't know for sure,
I haven't seen it.

But no one has
and that's the point.

In Baltimore, the DOJ report included
the story of Joe Crystal,

a detective who reported two fellow
officers for alleged excessive force,

and was labeled a "rat",

with one colleague leaving pictures
of cheese on his desk,

which is almost charming,

until you learn
how far some others went.

He found himself cut off. He didn't
get backup in dangerous situations.

Someone left a dead rat
on his windshield.

It was like their way of telling me:
you don't belong here...

Leaving a dead rat on an officer's
windshield is hostile.

Unless of course,
that officer is a police cat,

in which case it means:
"Welcome to the force, Whiskers !"

"We're lucky to have you !
Enjoy the rat."

Accountability doesn't just suffer
from an unwritten code of silence.

That code can be enshrined
within state laws or union contracts.

It's hard to spot problem officers
because, in many jurisdictions,

policies allow disciplinary
records to be destroyed.

In Baton Rouge,
a sustained complaint

can be stricken from
your record after just 18 months.

And in Mesa, Arizona, when
a journalist demanded records,

a police chief made an internal video
reminding his officers

that there was a way
for them to clean up their past.

I don't want anybody to relive
a problem they've been disciplined for,

that has already seen the scrutiny
in the public eye.

Purge your files according to policy,

make sure the things you don't
want in there aren't in there.

That seems wrong.

You should not be able to erase parts
of your past that are damning.

This is an official police file,
not a Volkswagen corporate history

that somehow starts
after World War II.

Nazi cars. The choice of the Nazis.

Deleting records is not an officer's
only option to escape their past.

After an incident, they'll resign,
and move to another department.

It happens so much, people in law
enforcement call them "gypsy cops".

In South Carolina, a TV station
looked into one officer

who spent a total of nine years
working for nine departments,

three of them in one year, and in one
case, he left in spectacular fashion.

Deputies believed Yarbrough's
driving was "compromised"

and they discover