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Constitutional Rights Documentary Examines Why America’s Cops Are Running Amok

Peace Officer

Film Review by Kam Williams

Constitutional Rights Documentary Examines Why America’s Cops Are Running Amok

William “Dub” Lawrence is the former sheriff of Davis County, Utah where he created and trained the state’s very first SWAT team several decades ago. However, he came to regret having ever founded that tactical unit  in September of 2008 when the police were summoned by his daughter because her husband had suffered an emotional breakdown.

Brian had barricaded himself in his pickup truck where he threatened to commit suicide while holding a gun to his head. Instead of defusing the volatile situation, the SWAT team proceeded to ratchet up the tension, ultimately ending the standoff by emptying 111 rounds into the vehicle, a lethal mix of of live ammo, flash-bomb grenades, pepper balls, rubber bullets, tasers and explosive devices.Peace Officer, Film Review, SWAT teams, documentary, Black Lives Matter movement,

Dub partially blames himself for his son-in-law’s unnecessary death, because he’d helped enforce the commanding officer’s order that his daughter and Brian’s parents vacate the area, thereby abandoning their loved one in an hour of need. Leaving it up to the first responders proved disastrous, since they failed to follow proper protocol, going so far as to shoot Brian in the head after he was already disarmed and lying defenseless in the street.

This and other similar cases of overzealous policing on the part of SWAT teams is the subject of Peace Officer, a timely documentary co-directed by Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber. For, never before in American history have cops been so distrusted and/or disliked by such a large percentage of the citizenry.

Most notably, there’s the Black Lives Matter movement which refuses to apologize for employing such hateful chants during demonstrations as: “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em up like bacon!” and “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want ’em? Now!” Consequently, attacks on law enforcement officers have become so commonplace that they’re now being murdered at the rate of about one a week.

How do you explain such a frightening breakdown of the culture? Well, this thought-provoking expose’ blames the country’s increasingly militaristic approach to policing. Dub, who serves as the film’s narrator, laments the fact that “Most people no longer see police as protectors, but as violators of their liberty.” He also harks back to a time when a patrolman’s job description call for his primarily serving the community as a peacemaker.

Sadly, that lofty ideal is long gone, having been replaced by the self-serving, “us” vs. “them” notion as reflected by the blue wall of silence and the immunity from prosecution which “allows cops to break the law with impunity.” A recipe for civil insurrection which we’ve all been witnessing.   Peace Officer, Film Review, SWAT teams, documentary, Black Lives Matter movement,

Thus, Peace Officer proves to be the cinematic equivalent of a canary in the coal mine, as it issues a dire warning to the government  to get SWAT teams under control before either the people revolt or the U.S. turns into a Fascistic police state.

     

Excellent (4 stars)

Unrated

Running time: 109 minutes

Studio:Submarine Deluxe

Distributor: Gravitas Ventures

Peace Officer screening schedule

Opening on Wednesday, September 16th at the IFC Center in New York City
Opening on Friday, September 18th at the Nuart Theater in Los Angeles

Opening on Friday, September 25th in the following cities:
San Francisco – Opera Plaza
Salt Lake City, UT – Tower Theater

Opening on Friday, October 2nd in the following cities:

Pleasantville, NY – Jacob Burns Film Center

Boston, MA – Landmark Kendall Square

Columbus, OH – Gateway Film Center

New Orleans, LA – Zeitgeist Film Center

Salt Lake City, Utah – Megaplex Theaters Gateway

Washington D.C – Landmark E Street

Philadelphia, PA – Landmark Ritz at the Bourse

Opening on Friday, October 9th in the following cities:

Austin, TX – Alamo Drafthouse Lamar

Dallas, TX – The Texas Theater

Kalamazoo, MI – Alamo Drafthouse

Seattle, Washington – Sundance Cinema

Scottsdale, AZ – The Shea (Harkins Theaters)

Yonkers, NY – Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers

Santa Fe, NM – CCA Santa Fe

Opening on Friday, October 16th  in the following cities:

Tacoma, WA – at the Grand Cinema

Miami, FL – at the O Cinema

Pittsfield, MA – at the Berkshire Museum

Hartford, CT – at the Real Art Ways

Opening on Friday, October 23rd  in the following cities:

Boulder, Co – at the Boedecker Theater

Kansas City, MO – at the Alamo Drafthouse

Opening on Friday, October 30th at the Landmark Midtown Arts Theater, Atlanta, GA.

Opening on Friday, November 6th at the Landmark Ken Cinema, San Diego, CA

Opening on Friday, November 13th at the Landmark Chez Artiste, Denver, CO.

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