The Cancer in Blue: Cop Documentaries

Proyect, Louis

Publisher:  CounterPunch
Date Written:  22/09/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21348

John Ridely's film "Let it Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992" is a 144-minute kaleidoscope of interviews and television news footage that climaxes in the riots that followed the acquittal of four cops who were captured on home video by a man named George Holliday as they were beating Rodney King with steel batons.



The villain in "Let it Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992" is none other than Daryl Gates who was about as controversial in his day as former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who Donald Trump just pardoned. Unlike Arpaio who ruled over a largely rural county, Gates was in charge of law and order in America's second largest city. Despite L.A. having a Black mayor-Tom Bradley-nothing got in Gates’s way. Like Arpaio, Gates was prone to making outrageous racist statements. One of his innovations was the chokehold, the same tactic that took the life of Eric Garner in N.Y. After Black people in L.A. kept ending up dead as a result of chokeholds, Gates explained that it was the result of their arteries not opening as fast as they do in "normal people."


Perhaps nothing illustrates the lawlessness of law enforcement in the USA more than the spectacle of cops in St. Louis shouting “Whose streets? Our streets!” as they arrested people protesting the not guilty verdict of white police officer Jason Stockley, who had been recorded telling his partner that "we're killing this motherfucker, don't you know," just minutes before firing five bullets into the body of an African-American youth named Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. It did not matter to the judge that Stockley had fired his pistol at Smith, whose car he had overtaken in a drug bust pursuit, just six inches from his body -- a clear indication of premeditation. Nor did it matter that the pistol that had been found in Smith’s car was likely planted since it only had Stockley’s DNA on it.