“Not Just a Few Bad Apples,” Bill Maher Calls Out Police Across the US

Jay Syrmopoulos | FreeThoughtProject

“There’s something wrong with the whole barrel. It’s not just a few apples.”

Los Angeles, Calif. – After the recent police killing of Walter Scott, controversial talk show host Bill Maher took aim at one of the most common, and absurd, arguments put forth by police brutality apologists; that there are just a few bad apples.

“How do you explain a police officer, who up until that moment doesn’t seem like a crazy person. Who then just goes to; “Hey this is the United States of Saudi Arabia and if you run from a cop I shoot you,” Maher commented.

During Friday’s segment of Real Time, Maher pushed back on the notion that police are working to help communities.

“I guess they are. But that second cop came over, and he was black, and he was helping the guy cover it up,” Maher argued. “If you’re helping to cover up this police culture, they’re not all good. There’s something wrong with the whole barrel. It’s not just a few apples.”

Maher went on to comment on the sheer ugliness of officer Slager’s behavior post shooting, stating that he appeared almost “non-chalant” after shooting Scott in the back and killing him.

He also took issue with the fact that Slager fired eight shots at Scott as he ran away, stating that guns have become the “tool of choice” in America.

“We see it in movies. We see it in videos,” Maher said. “It just seems like the gun is too ready and available. And also, why do guns always have to empty the whole clip?”

New York Times columnist Ross Douhat responded,

“The reason cops are supposed to empty the clip is that, in police training, you’re supposed to shoot to take down the person coming at you. This is why people say, ‘Cops should be trained to shoot somebody in the ankle’ and so on. That doesn’t work. If you’re actually in a life-or-death situation, you’re supposed to aim for the center.”

“Really? I think that would work on me,” Maher replied. “I think if you get shot in the leg, it works. What bullsh*t is that?”

CNN host Fareed Zakaria weighed in during the discussion, arguing that police in America are “armed to the teeth” and that new data suggests U.S. citizens are now “50 times more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist in the United States.”

“It just feels like we’ve gotten away from the Anglo-American system of justice, which was all about the rights of the individual,” Zakaria said. “That was meant to be the heart of what the Anglo-American justice system was about.”

What’s clear is that without cell phone footage, Walter Scott’s cold-blooded killing would have been just another justifiable homicide committed by law enforcement. As Maher pointed out, it isn’t simply a few bad apples but a systemic problem ingrained in law enforcement.


Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.

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