“Black and Blue,” Soledad O’Brien’s latest addition to her “Black in America” documentary series, is set to premiere tonight at 9 p.m. EST on CNN. The documentary will follow the lives of both police officers who claim to be fighting crime and Black men who are stopped and frisked regularly and without cause.
It will expose the plight of the young Black men whose lives and families are torn apart because of over-aggressive policing.
“What is so shocking is that this police practice was used around the country – and in some places still is – with the theory that police were stopping criminals,” said O’Brien. “It’s shocking that the city where this was popularized was stopping so many innocent people.”
The NYPD reportedly made more than 5 million stops between 2002 and 2013. Of those stopped, more than 80 percent were Black or Latino, and 88 percent of the stops did not result in arrests or evidence of any crime.
In an era with tragedies such as the Oscar Grant, Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases, this documentary is both timely and necessary.
In the documentary, O’Brien rides along with police officers patrolling high crime areas who are strong supporters that the “stop and frisk” tactic is only catching people that would be committing crimes.
But one police officer, who has his identity concealed, reveals to O’Brien the police are doing these frisks to fulfill arrest quotas that are established for senior officials.
“Everything is numbers based…Summonses must be written; the arrests must be made…,” he said.
The documentary also brings New York’s new mayor Bill De Blasio to the forefront. De blasio claimed to want to transform the policing system, yet he appointed the same police commissioner that initiated these policing tactics years ago.
“I’ve been a cop for 44 years…So, I can understand some of the attitudes and beliefs,” William Bratton, NYPD Commissioner, told O’Brien.
“Black and Blue”, is produced by O’Brien’s Starfish Media Group. If you can’t catch the first showing, there will be encore performance at 12:00a.m. and again on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 7:00pm.