Sterling, a black man, was killed by police in Baton Rouge, La., early Tuesday morning. Police had been called to a parking lot where Sterling was selling CDs to respond to a report of an armed man (Louisiana is an open carry state). Sterling had a gun in his possession, but video taken of the incident shows that he was pinned to the ground and was not holding the gun when he was shot. Sterling is one of more than 100 black men killed by police so far in 2016.
Wilmore dedicated a segment of his show on Wednesday to talk about the injustice of Sterling's death.
"No matter what his crimes were," Wilmore said, "Alton Sterling did not deserve to be executed for them. Look, guys, the punishment for resisting arrest shouldn't be death. The punishment for selling bootleg CDs shouldn't be death. The punishment for having a gun in an open-carry state shouldn't be death. The punishment for being a black man shouldn't be death."
"Thank God for f----ing cell phones," Wilmore also said, since they give victims and witnesses the ability to record and share these incidents.
Wilmore's segment aired just hours after another black man was killed by a police officer in St. Anthony, Minn. Footage of Philando Castile's death and the aftermath of the shooting was livestreamed on Facebook by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds. Reynolds and her young daughter were in the car at the time. Castile had reportedly informed the officer that he had a licensed handgun in his possession and was reaching for his wallet to retrieve his license when the officer shot him four times.