Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Why police raids need to end

John Oliver (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
John Oliver (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images) /

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver continued to look at policing in America last night. The HBO late night show examined the inherent dangers in police raids and why the practice needs to end for the sake of everyone’s safety.

While most of last season was dedicated to covering the pandemic, John Oliver did spend several main story segments on police and police violence. The Last Week Tonight host discussed sheriffs, police brutality, and law enforcement applications for facial recognition.

Now just three episodes into season 8, Oliver is once again tackling issues related to excessive policing, police militarization, and racial profiling in the form of police raids. And as in so many previous segments, Oliver is calling for systematic changes to the ways laws are enforced in the country.

Last Week Tonight offered an explanation for why police raids have become so frequent and why so little oversight is in place for such a dangerous tactic. It was a rare segment in that Oliver incorporated fewer jokes than usual in an attempt to highlight the severity of the issue.

John Oliver gets serious while calling for an end to police raids

The opening of Last Week Tonight‘s main story did work in some of its trademark humor. Namely, the references to the short-lived police musical Cop Rock were something Oliver and his writers couldn’t resist. But that was about as funny as things got as the jokes that followed sounded more like filling a requirement than trying to make audiences burst out laughing.

It was a sign of how upset Oliver was about police raids and their excessive use around the country, especially in minority communities. Last Week Tonight audiences have seen Oliver in this kind of mood before. Last season’s story on the Kenosha, Wisconsin shooting comes to mind as an example of Oliver getting angrier and angrier as the segment progresses.

Here, example after example is presented of police raids targeting the wrong house, civilians getting injured, and almost no time being spent approving the use of raids. It infuriates Oliver even more to see a majority of the raids used for drug control rather than the cult massacre scenario featured in the segment.

And while some progress has been made when it comes to no-knock warrants and other police practices, it’s not nearly enough for Oliver. The only response to such extreme tactics is to end them completely, says the late night host. We’ll see how realistic that is but at least Oliver has helped move the conversation forward and put the spotlight on what needs to change.

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What did you think of this segment from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.