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A rare look inside a troubled police department being forced to reform.
About this Event
Over the past several years, the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers have sparked a national debate about race, policing and civil rights, with the Department of Justice (DOJ) stepping in to mandate reform at several troubled police forces.
Now, in a new documentary called Policing the Police FRONTLINE and New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb take viewers on a rare, up-close journey inside one police department that’s been ordered to change its ways: the force in Newark, New Jersey. With gripping, on-the-ground access, Policing the Police gives viewers a raw and complex look at the challenge of changing how cops operate in a place like Newark: a poor city plagued by violent crime, where the victims and the perpetrators are usually black, and the police force itself is largely black and Latino.
The documentary examines the difficulties of fixing a broken relationship with the community after decades of mutual mistrust — from riding along with officers as they conduct “field inquiries” (a practice that was the focus of much of the DOJ’s investigation), to talking with community members themselves, to showing tense internal meetings with top city and police officials. Policing the Police also includes candid scenes and interviews with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, a former activist who went to college with Cobb, and is now trying to shake up the department from the inside.
“Is it possible to make impoverished, crime-ridden communities safe while still respecting people’s constitutional rights?” Cobb asks.
Explore that question in this online screening of Policing the Police — a nuanced glimpse into how topics in the national discussion about race and policing are playing out every day on the streets of Newark, in community members’ homes, and in the city’s police precincts.