The new movie called DETROIT is based on a true story of police brutality during the riots in that city 50 years ago. The movie has already earned critical acclaim, but it’s not doing very well at the box office.
DETROIT recreates a harrowing night during the 1967 riots in that city when police brutally murdered three young unarmed black men at the Algiers Motel. The officers also terrorized ten more black men and two white women, mistakenly believing that one of the men had fired a gun at them. This powerful story is based on interviews with the survivors, and it’s both masterfully done and excruciating to watch.
TV announcer: Here in Detroit, a city at war, violence continues….
Blending a few old TV clips and lots of newly created footage Oscar winning Director Kathryn Bigelow puts us right in the middle of the explosive five day Detroit riots that took the lives of 43 and injured over a thousand.
But the focus of the film is the people who were partying at the Algiers motel.
1st man: When you’re black, it’s almost like having a gun pointed at your face. It’s like this. ‘Hey boy. What you doin’ on my street?’
2nd man: Get that gun off me!
1st man: Or what?
(First man fires the gun at the second man, scaring every one. 2nd man is not hurt.)
First man: It’s just a starter pistol. It just starts races.
But when the guy stupidly begins shooting the starter pistol out the window, police unleash a barrage of real bullets at the room where they saw his muzzle flash. Next, they storm the hotel.
The cop in charge, who’s already killed an unarmed looter in the street, begins a reign of terror.
Cop: I’m just gonna assume you’re all criminals…..Now, let’s not be stupid in this situation. You need to tell me where the gun is.
His brutal interrogation goes on and on. The cops beat their hostages with fists and gun butts and threaten to kill them if they don’t talk.
Cop: You think we’re bluffin’. We don’t bluff!
A black security guard enters the building and is appalled to see a dead man on the floor.
Cop: I thought he had a knife, tried to go for my gun.
Now 68 years old, one of the female survivors of this ordeal was on the set every day to help ensure the authenticity of what was being filmed.
DETROIT is an intense reminder of the terrible cost of discrimination and racism. Sadly, police killings of unarmed African Americans still create huge problems in America today.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org