Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, William Chapman II, Jeremy Mcdole, Jamar Clark, Alton Sterling, Philando Castille, Terrence Crutcher, Freddie Gray, all have one thing in common. They have all been victims of extra judicial killings by law enforcement agents in the United States of America.

These are just a few names of the people who have died at the hands of police officers but did not garner international attention and demonstrations. However, in the events of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, there has been an international outrage which has brought to the fore-front, the deep issues of police brutality and maltreatment of African-Americans living in the USA.

5 Movies on police brutality

Thousands of African-Americans and their allies do not want his death to go in vain and have been protesting to bring in a systemic change in how law enforcement works in the country.

Police brutality is a traumatic issue and filmmakers have revisited this topic from time immemorial in both film and television. Here are a 5 TV shows and movies that explore police brutality and other law enforcement injustices

When They See Us

Director: Ava Duvernay

Starring: Jharrel Jerome, Asante Blackk, Jovan Adepo, Michael K. Williams, Logan Marshall-Green,

Year of Release: 2019

“When They See Us,” a series based on the story of the Central Park Five, written and produced by Ava DuVernay, has been Netflix’s most-watched program since its May 31st release. It was viewed by more than 23 million accounts worldwide at the time of publication. The four-part drama focuses on the mistreatment of five juveniles by the justice system.

A white lady, Trisha Meili was sexually assaulted and left for dead while running in Central Park. A group of brown and black teenagers wereimplicated. The five were all between the ages of 14 and 16 when they were held for hours by the New York Police Department, without lawyers, and coerced into confessing to the assault. The demand for blood — for revenge, really — reached a fever pitch. Donald Trump — then a publicity-seeking real estate developer, not a president — paid for ads in four New York newspapers calling for the state to bring back the death penalty and apply it in the case.

Although the five were minors, the police released the names of the teens as suspects, and their reputations were trashed across print and local news before their guilt or innocence had been proven.

5 Movies on police brutality

It wasn’t until 2002, when the real rapist confessed to the crime, that Wise, Santana, Salaam, Richardson and McCray were exonerated. By the time the district attorney’s office vacated the Central Park Five’s convictions, four of the men — Richardson, McCray, Salaam and Santana — each served about seven years in prison. Wise — who, at 16, was tried as an adult — spent 13 years in prison.

The story was turned into a four-part Netflix drama called “When They See US”. It was written and directed by Ava DuVernay. She has also made films such as Selma, based on Martin Luther King Jr, and 13th, a documentary about the US prison system. The series features an ensemble cast, including Jharrel Jerome, Asante Blackk, Jovan Adepo, Michael K. Williams, Logan Marshall-Green, Joshua Jackson, Blair Underwood, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Aunjanue Ellis, Marsha Stephanie Blake, and Kylie Bunbury.

American Son

Director: Kenny Leon

Starring: Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, Jeremy Jordan and Eugene Lee.

Year of Release: 2019

The Netflix television event, tells the story of Kendra Ellis-Connor (Kerry Washington), the mother of a missing teenager, as she struggles to put the pieces together in a South Florida police station. Kendra frantically checks her cell phone in the police station waiting room during the early hours of a dark, stormy morning. Her 18-year-old son Jamal (who is never seen nor heard in the movie) has been gone since the night before, and she’s obviously concerned. It doesn’t help that he isn’t answering her calls or text messages. Kendra tries to maintain some calm, while she awaits answers from condescending junior police officer, Paul Larkin (Jeremy Jordan), and also for her husband, who is a white police officer, Scott (Steven Pasquale), to arrive.

The film is almost entirely contained inside the police station that serves as the show’s setting, with occasional flashbacks to other moments and moods. Mostly it traps us in a moment we desperately want to look away from: the liminal space of a mother not knowing if her Black son is OK.


Director: Ava DuVernay

Year of Release: 2016

The documentary was written by Ava DuVernay, who wrote and directed Selma (2014), and Spencer Averick. Spencer also edited the film, Produced and filmed in secrecy. 13th was revealed only after it was announced as the opening film for the 2016 New York Film Festival. It was the first documentary ever to open the festival.

In “13th”, Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. It is titled after the Thirteenth Amendment in the United States Constitution, adopted in 1865, which abolished slavery throughout the United States and ended involuntary servitude except as a punishment for conviction of a crime.

The 13th has been celebrated by critics and audience since its release, with the film holding a 97% approval rating on review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes. 13th garnered acclaim from a number of film critics. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards, and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards.

It contains a number of interviews with people from across the system, along with politicians, academics, and historians.

Black And Blue

Director: Deon Taylor

Starring: Naomie Harris, Tyrese Gibson, Frank Grillo, Mike Colter, Reid Scott, and Beau Knapp

Year of Release: 2019

Black and Blue is a 2019 American action thriller film directed by Deon Taylor from a screenplay by Peter A. Dowling. The film stars Naomie Harris, Tyrese Gibson, Frank Grillo, Mike Colter, Reid Scott, and Beau Knapp, and follows a rookie police officer who goes on the run after she witnesses a murder.

Naomi Harris plays Alicia West, a conscientious rookie police office in New Orleans who has recently returned to her hometown after years spent serving in the military in the Middle East. Just a few weeks into the job, she walks in on an assassination of unarmed civilians orchestrated by a dirty narcotics agent, Malone (Frank Grillo), which is captured by her body camera. Malone and his cohorts race after Alicia, determined to destroy the incriminating evidence, turning both the police and local gangsters against her.

Desperate to stay alive and unable to convince anyone that Malone is lying when he claims she killed the civilians, she reaches out to Milo (Gibson), a lowly convenience store employee she hasn’t seen since they were both kids.

Black And Blue examines the anxious relationship between the African-American community and law enforcement. Alicia is both black and a cop — hence, black and blue — the awkward position in which she finds herself, serving in a profession that many of the people she grew up with despise.


Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Starring: John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Hannah Murray, Kaitlyn Dever

Year of Release:2017

The film is based on a real event, a police raid at the Algiers Motel in 1967 in Detroit that resulted in the deaths of three young black men and the beatings of nine other people, including two white women.

On Sunday, July 23, 1967, the Detroit Police Department stage a raid on an unlicensed club during a celebration for returning black veterans from the Vietnam War. While suspects are being arrested, a mob forms and starts throwing rocks at the officers before looting nearby stores and starting fires, beginning the 12th Street Riot. With state authorities, elected representatives, and even emergency services unable to maintain any semblance of order, Governor George W. Romney authorizes the Michigan Army National Guard and President Lyndon B. Johnson authorizes Army paratroopers to enter Detroit in order to provide assistance. On the second day of rioting, two cops pursued a fleeing looter. One of them, Philip Krauss, kills the man with a shotgun against orders, but is allowed to remain on duty until his superiors can decide whether to file murder charges.

Krauss orders several suspects to be moved to different rooms and subjected to mock executions in order to terrify the others into confessing. One officer, Ronald August, actually kills Pollard, as he did not understand that the executions were supposed to be faked. Hysell and Malloy are taken to a room upstairs, with Hysell’s clothes being accidentally torn off. Disgusted, a Guardsman returns and manages to get them released from custody. Fearing arrest, Krauss permits the remaining three men to leave, but only if they swear to keep silent. Greene and Reed agree, but Temple is shot twice in the chest by Krauss after he persists in telling them that he sees a body.

The narrative as it opens, gives a portrait of the civil unrest and riots that dominated Detroit at the time before placing the variety of characters introduced into a “powder keg” of a situation at the Algiers Motel. After the blood has dried and scars began to heal for the survivors, the narrative dashes through the investigation, trial, and aftermath of that night.

At a time like this, Blacks and Allies all over the world must keep joining forces to make sure that real change is executed, so the deaths of these individuals are not in vain!

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