11 Must-See Documentaries on Police Brutality and Corruption

11 Must-See Documentaries on Police Brutality and Corruption
Alonzo Harris put us on the game of police corruption in Training Day and there are countless movies, undoubtedly inspired by real life that make us aware of police brutality. But these 11 must-see documetnaries on police brutality and corruption explore the real in both.

READ: 13 Powerful TV Episodes That Address Police Brutality and Racism

With everything going on, it’s not just to educate yourself through conversation but also through real-life accounts of those who have done the research and/or have been in those rooms, cop cars, and witnessed brutality and corruption first-hand.

Check out these 11 must-see documentaries on police brutality and start the uncomfortable conversation with your friends and colleagues.

The Seven Five

Synopsis: Former NYPD officer Michael Dowd tells how he and his partner committed a long list of crimes, including running their own cocaine ring, while on the job in the 1980s and early ’90s.
Where to Stream: Sling TV, CBS All Access


Synopsis: Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans.
Where to Stream: Right here or on Netflix

Let the Fire Burn

Synopsis: On May 13, 1985, Philadelphia police dropped two pounds of military explosives onto a city row house occupied by the radical group MOVE. The resulting fire was not fought for over an hour although firefighters were on the scene with water cannons in place. Five children and six adults were killed and sixty-one homes were destroyed by the six-alarm blaze, one of the largest in the city’s history. This dramatic tragedy unfolds through an extraordinary visual record previously withheld from the public. It is a graphic illustration of how prejudice, intolerance and fear can lead to unthinkable acts of violence.
Where to Stream: Kanopy

READ: The 11 Best and Worst Eddie Murphy Films

LA 92

Synopsis: Examining the tumultuous period following the verdict in the Rodney King trial in 1992. The acquittal of four police officers for beating a black motorist saw several days of protests, violence and looting in Los Angeles.Where to Stream: Right here

Crime + Punishment

Synopsis: In 2010, New York City banned quotas on arrests and summonses. In 2015, a group of 12 minority NYPD officers filed a class-action lawsuit against the NYPD, alleging the illegal and continued use of quotas.
Where to Stream: Hulu


Synopsis: COPWATCH follows WeCopwatch, an organization dedicated to filming the police. Among its members are the individuals who captured the original videos of the deaths of Eric Garner in Staten Island and Freddie Gray in Baltimore that ignited the entire nation. Learn the stories behind the videos, and the great personal cost borne by the people who took them.
Where to Stream: N/A but you can buy it on many streaming platforms

16 Shots

Synopsis: 16 Shots examines the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke and the cover-up that ensued. After the police initially declared the shooting as justified, journalists and activists fought for footage of the event to be released, sending the Chicago Police Department and local Chicago government officials into upheaval as the community demanded justice. Rowley’s film dissects the cover-up through first-hand witness accounts which led to the unprecedented conviction that fractured the political landscape of Chicago.
Where to Stream: Showtime

The Force

Synopsis: The Oakland Police Department and its members struggle to confront federal demands for reform, a popular uprising following events in Ferguson, Mo., and an explosive scandal.
Where to Stream: Netflix

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

Synopsis: Filmmakers re-examine the 1992 death of transgender legend Marsha P. Johnson, who was found floating in the Hudson River. Originally ruled a suicide, many in the community believe she was murdered.
Where to Stream: Netflix

Whose Street

Synopsis: An account of the Ferguson uprising as told by the people who lived it. The filmmakers look at how the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown inspired a community to fight back and sparked a global movement.
Where to Stream: Hulu

READ: 15 of Regina King’s Most Iconic Roles

Do Not Resist

Synopsis: Do Not Resist is an urgent documentary that explores the militarization of local police departments- in their tactics, training, and acquisition of equipment- since 9/11.
Where to Stream: N/A but you can buy it on many streaming platforms

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