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‘Daily Show’ host argues Castile being black is keeping NRA silent about cop’s acquittal

By Paul Walsh

Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Daily Show” host Trevor Noah went on his national television show and scolded the National Rifle Association, the nation’s foremost gun rights lobbying group, for its silence since jurors acquitted the police officer who last July fatally shot Philando Castile, a black gun owner with a permit to carry his weapon in public.

“You would think that one group, one powerful group in America, would say something about it,” Noah said in the 3-minute segment aired Monday night on Comedy Central that emphasized that Castile was lawfully armed and curried no favor with the NRA because of his race.

“This is one group you would expect to be losing their … minds about this: the NRA,” Noah said. “But for some strange reason, on this particular case, they’ve been completely silent. Completely silent.

“And yet, according to their rhetoric, this is everything that they stand against, right? An officer of the state depriving a citizen of his life because he was legally carrying a firearm?”

Two days after Castile was killed, the NRA did post a statement online emphasizing that it “supports the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms for defense regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation. The reports from Minnesota are troubling and must be thoroughly investigated. It is important for the NRA not to comment while the investigation is ongoing. Rest assured, the NRA will have more to say once all the facts are known.”

The NRA has yet to break its silence as it pledged to do once the case ran its course. The Star Tribune spoke Tuesday morning with Amy Hunter, a media contact for the lobbying group, and she said, “I will forward this on to the appropriate people” about the possibility of a post-verdict comment.

When police officer Jeronimo Yanez pulled over the car in Falcon Heights with Castile, his girlfriend and her daughter inside, Castile calmly acknowledged having a firearm. He also had a permit to carry his weapon at the time. He did not disclose that fact to the officer.

In his commentary, Noah, showed a video clip of NRA chief Wayne LaPierre speaking to a conservative gathering declaring “the right to protect our families with all the rifles, shotguns and handguns we want” as the greatest right of all.

“Unless you’re black is what he should have said,” Noah said at the clip’s conclusion. “It’s interesting how the people who define themselves by one fundamental American right — the right to bear arms — show that once race is involved, the only right that they believe in is their right to remain silent.”

In its first few hours on Facebook, Noah’s perspective on the verdict had been viewed more than 770,000 times, shared roughly 25,000 times and was closing in on attracting 1,000 comments.