Stephen Colbert, James Corden and more react to George Floyd murder trial verdict

Stephen Colbert. Picture: Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

Stephen Colbert. Picture: Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

Published Apr 21, 2021


Late night TV hosts addressed the verdict to the George Floyd murder trial on Tuesday night, which saw ex-cop Derek Chauvin convicted for the murder of the Minneapolis native.

The ex-policeman was found guilty of all three charges against him – second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter - after 10 hours of deliberations on Tuesday night and the high-profile case was the focus of the opening monologues for many of the late night talk show hosts.

In his opening monologue on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”, just after the verdict was announced, Colbert admitted that while "it's hard to celebrate" because a man lost his life, "accountability today is a deterrent for tomorrow" in regards to holding police accountable for their actions.

He said: "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.

"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.

"At least in this case, this man faces accountability. 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."

Over on “The Late Late Show with James Corden”, the host insisted the "real justice" would be for Floyd to still be alive.

He said: "While we are relieved that some justice has been served, the truth is the real justice will be George Floyd being alive today.

"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."

Fallon echoed his peers' sentiments on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”.

He said: "Too often, justice isn't served and the need for police reform remains.

"We all must continue to call out injustice until things change for the better."

Jimmy Kimmel also addressed the landmark court case and verdict and directly told Chauvin that he hopes he remains in prison "for a very long time".

He said at the start of “Jimmy Kimmel Live”: "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.

"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. That's right. I hope you're there for a very long time."

Sentencing will be made in eight weeks. Second-degree murder can land someone 40 years in prison, though it can be reduced if they do not already hold a criminal record.

Floyd, an African-American Minneapolis native, died on 25 May 2020 after Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes during his arrest.

His murder in police custody sparked global Black Lives Matter protests.

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