By Josiah Askew
The National Geographic Channel’s documentary “LA 92.” The documentary directed by Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival before airing on The National Geographic Channel.
“We want to continue to bring light to issues that we are still facing today,” said Saptosa Foster, communications strategist and chairman of BWFN. “It is not over until we give up.”
Established in 1997 by Sheryl Riley Gripper, The Black Women Film Network (BWFN) was founded to prepare Black women to enter the film and television industries. The organization seeks to preserve the voice of these women through film and educational programs that empower and inform.
In the film, Rodney Glenn King a taxi driver at the time was brutally beaten by four officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. On March 3, 1993, shortly after midnight, King was pulled over after a brief high speed chase, pulled out of his vehicle and brutally beaten. George Holliday, a 31-year-old plumber at the time, used his camcorder to record the savage acts against King by officers of the LAPD. Holliday, takes the credit for being the first citizen journalist.
Citizen journalism is defined as- citizens playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information.
The footage of the beating would broadcast on national television, sparking the infamous L.A. riots — and this was pre-internet age.
“As I saw the film, it was as if nothing has changed,” audience viewer Latrell Baker said: “We still have cops killing our men on video with little to no consequences.”
Improvements in technology allow civilians to take an active role in citizen journalism provided through the internet. Regular reports of police brutality against black men are well-documented in this age of smartphones, in which many are equipped with cameras capable of recording video.
“How many will die before we say enough is enough?” Baker said. “It is unreal to think of how many (Black) men have died at the hands of people called to protect and serve us.”
After the screening of the documentary, and with so many recent stories of brutality amongst Black men, for many who attended the event the same question remains:
Twenty-five years later, when will the city of Los Angeles, the LAPD or the rest of the country change when will Black men receive the same treatment as White men, women or even children?