Second film in KIPCOR series examines police militarization
NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The second film in the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) Film Series for 2016–17 looks at militarization of the police in the United States since 9/11.
Do Not Resist will screen in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center at Bethel College Feb. 19 at 3 p.m. It is free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken to support KIPCOR and its programs.
Plans are still in process for the talk-back session after the film. So far, Djuan Wash and AJ Bohannon, both activists and community organizers from Wichita, have agreed to participate.
Wash works as the juvenile justice advocate for Kansas Appleseed, a community justice center based in Lawrence. Bohannon has been involved in the Wichita Black Lives Matter movement.
The 72-minute documentary Do Not Resist marks the directorial debut of cinematographer Craig Atkinson.
The film starts on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, as the community grapples with the death of Michael Brown, and goes on to look at the current state of policing in America and to take a glimpse into the future.
The Tribeca Film Festival winner for Best Documentary puts viewers in the center of the action – from a ride-along with a South Carolina SWAT team, to a police training seminar that teaches the importance of “righteous violence,” to the floor of a congressional hearing on the proliferation of military equipment in small-town police departments – before exploring where controversial new technologies, including predictive policing algorithms, could lead the field next.
In his director’s statement, Atkinson said, “In April 2013, I watched the police response in the days following the Boston Marathon bombing in awe. I had never associated the vehicles, weapons and tactics used by officers after the attack with domestic police work.
“I grew up with the War on Drugs era of policing. My father was an officer for 29 years .. and became a member of SWAT … in 1989. What I wasn’t familiar with, since my father’s retirement from the force in 2002, was the effect the War on Terror had on police work.
“Making this film was an attempt to understand what had changed. … During the 13 years my father was on SWAT…, his team conducted 29 search warrants total. Compare that to today, when departments of a similar size we filmed conducted more than 200 a year.”
Atkinson continued, “In hindsight, it’s not hard to understand how we arrived at the current state of policing in America. Since 9/11, the federal government has given police departments more than $40 billion in equipment with no stipulations on how it should be deployed or any reporting requirements.
“Additionally, the federal government created a loophole that allowed police departments to keep the majority of the money and property seized during search warrants to supplement their operating revenue.
“If a police department makes a portion of their operating revenue from ticketing citizens or seizing their assets, then police officers become de facto tax collectors. We met many officers who said they didn’t sign up for that.”
In addition to being named “Best Documentary” at the Tribeca Film Festival, Do Not Resist was No. 3 on film critic Daniel Barnes’ list of “Top Five Documentaries” for 2016 (Sacramento News & Review); No. 12 on Andrew Parker’s list of “Top 50 Films of 2016” (The Gate); and one of Peter Keough’s “10 docs that Oscar forgot” (Boston Globe).