Hundreds of people poured into the streets of Detroit day after day in the summer of 2020 to support Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality following the murder of George Floyd.
Then-Detroit Police Chief James Craig repeatedly claimed that his department was committed to protecting the constitutional rights of peaceful demonstrators, going so far as suggest that “we are in this together.”
The emptiness of those words has been laid bare in a shocking documentary by filmmaker Kate Levy, who created the piece largely by compiling video taken by media, bystanders and the protestors themselves, capturing footage while putting themselves at risk of retaliation from Detroit Police Department officers being caught on camera viciously abusing protesters — and then bragging about it to each other.
Some of the most damning scenes, however, come from police body-camera videos.
Those videos were obtained through a federal lawsuit brought by the National Lawyers Guild on behalf of Detroit Will Breathe, a grassroots activist group using direct action to promote racial justice in Detroit, and seven individuals who allege they were the victims of unconstitutional police violence while attending the protests. It is one of at least four lawsuits launched against the city by people who say they were abused by police and had their constitutional rights violated by the city during last summer’s demonstrations.
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