Trevor Noah Asks Why Jacob Blake Was Shot 7 Times, but Kyle Rittenhouse Wasn't Considered a Threat

The Daily Show host Trevor Noah has questioned why Jacob Blake was shot multiple times in the back by Kenosha police on Sunday, while Kyle Rittenhouse was taken into custody unscathed after being charged with homicide over the fatal shootings of two people during protests against racial injustice.

After railing against the disparity in the treatment of Black and white suspects, Noah said the "gun doesn't matter as much as who's holding the gun," arguing that some saw black skin as the "most threatening" weapon.

The comedian also said events that took place after the vigilante Rittenhouse allegedly killed two protesters were "illuminating," nodding to the fact he was not arrested at the scene.

The quote

"While what happened with those shootings last night is tragic, what happened afterward is illuminating because it made me wonder, it really made me wonder why some people get shot seven times in the back while other people are treated like human beings and reasoned with and taken into custody with no bullets in their bodies.

"How come Jacob Blake was seen as a threat for a theoretical gun that he might have and might try to commit a crime with, but this gunman who was armed and who had already shot people, who had shown that he is a threat, was arrested the next day, given full due process of the law and generally treated like a human being whose life matters?

"How did Dylan Roof shoot up a church, James Holmes shoot up a movie theater, and both live to tell about it? Why is it that the police decide some threats must be distinguished immediately, while other threats get the privilege of being defused?

"I'm asking these as questions but I feel like we know the answer. The answer is that the gun doesn't matter as much as who's holding the gun, because for some people black skin is the most threatening weapon of all."

Why it matters

The Department of Justice opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting of 29-year-old Blake on Wednesday, who was repeatedly shot in the back after trying to enter his vehicle as officers pointed their guns at him.

Blake survived but has reportedly been left paralyzed from the waist down as a result of injuries sustained during the incident. His children were in the back of his car as he was being shot.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the father also had a knife in his vehicle at the time of the shooting.

Releasing a statement on its civil rights investigation, the U.S. DOJ said: "Federal authorities are committed to investigating this matter as thoroughly and efficiently as possible. Along with Attorney General Kaul and District Attorney Graveley, United States Attorney Krueger and Assistant Attorney General Dreiband urged all members of the community to allow the investigation processes to develop all available evidence before rendering judgment."

The department added that its federal investigation would run alongside Wisconsin's own probe into the police shooting of Blake, and share information with state-level investigators where possible.

Context

Blake's shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday has sparked mass protests against racial injustice and general unrest in the city. President Donald Trump ordered the deployment of National Guard and federal law enforcement officers to Wisconsin yesterday in an effort to quell the demonstrations.

The white 17-year-old Rittenhouse of Illinois was arrested on Wednesday morning after two protesters were shot dead while another was injured overnight. A hearing on his transfer to Wisconsin is expected on Friday.

Speaking to the Daily Caller on Tuesday night, the alleged shooter said: "So people are getting injured and our job is to protect this business, and part of my job is also helping people.

"If somebody's hurt, I'm running into harm's way. That's why I have my rifle, because I need to protect myself, obviously. I also have my medkit."

Daily Show Host Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah attends as ViacomCBS Inc. rings the opening bell at NASDAQ on December 05, 2019 in New York City. John Lamparski/Getty Images