‘We’ve seen this movie before’ — SNL hits on Black, white outlook on Derek Chauvin trial

Saturday Night Live takes a comical look at the Chauvin murder trial through society's perspectives

As the Derek Chauvin trial continues, Saturday Night Live took on race and the differing points of view on police, justice and riots surrounding the murder case in Minneapolis.

The long-running NBC sketch comedy series used its cold open in Saturday’s episode to touch on society’s expectations of the trial’s outcome through the lens of Black Americans, who were portrayed as weary and apprehensive, and white Americans, who were portrayed as optimistic but out of touch.

The sketch features Kenan Thompson, Ego Nwodim, Kate McKinnon and Alex Moffat as news anchors hosting the fictional KBDB midday newscast.

Nwodin brought up the Chauvin trial, in which the former Minneapolis police officer faces three murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd. Floyd, who is Black, died under the knee of after Chauvin nearly a year ago.

From left to right: Ego Nwodim, Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon and Alex Moffat appear in a “Saturday Night Live” skit Saturday, April 10, 2021. (via YouTube screenshot)

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“Watching this trial brought back so many bad feelings from last summer,” Nwodim said.

Thompson replied, “I know. I felt myself getting angry all over again.”

While all they all agreed with Moffat’s assessment that the video footage was all that was needed to see the truth, McKinnon chimed in again by saying, “Sounds like we all agree that Derek Chauvin doesn’t walk away from this.”

Comically, Nwodim and Thompson disagreed. They were skeptical of the way the judicial system treats Black people.

When McKinnon and Moffat asked if they believed Chauvin’s defense team, Thompson said that they didn’t, pointing out the defense lawyer’s attempt to blame Floyd’s death on his alleged drug use as “a clear act of desperation to create doubt where there is none.” But when McKinnon suggested that the jury couldn’t possibly believe the defense either, Nwodim and Thompson once again sounded skeptical, leading to laughter from the live studio audience.

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Thompson started to make the comment, “Y’all seem like good people,” as a play on their naive, out-of-touch idealism, but he was interrupted by Nwodim, who said, “Let’s just say we’ve seen this movie before.”

Nwodim mentioned that there are numerous incidents where police officers have gotten away with killing unarmed Black men and women, either by being found innocent in court or escaping criminal charges altogether. Last September, officers involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor in her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment learned that they would not be charged in her death.

Back in 2014, a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the cop who shot and killed18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In 2020, CNN reported that he would not be charged in Brown’s death after a reinvestigation.

NBC News reported last year that the United States Department of Justice would not file federal charges against the officers who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014 while playing with a toy gun in a park in Cleveland. The shooting was captured on camera.

In 2019, a grand jury stated that former New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo would not be charged in the 2014 choking death of Eric Garner on Staten Island, according to the New York Times. The video of Garner’s death ignited “I can’t breathe” rallying call that has helped galvanize the Black Lives Matter movement.

In 2017, Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Philando Castile, as reported by CNN.

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