Documentary : #Oscars Traffic Stop (2017) Short Subject

I found myself clinching my fists and holding my breath through the struggle.

Length: 30 minutes

Release: 14 November 2017

IMDB Synopsis: Traffic Stop tells the story of Breaion King, a 26-year-old African-American school teacher from Austin, Texas, who was stopped for a routine traffic violation that escalated into a dramatic arrest. Caught on police dash cams, King was pulled from her car by the arresting officer, repeatedly thrown to the ground and handcuffed. En route to jail in a squad car, she engaged in a revealing conversation with her escorting officer about race and law enforcement in America. The documentary juxtaposes dash cam footage with scenes from King’s everyday life, offering a fuller portrait of the woman caught up in this unsettling encounter.

IMDB Page: Traffic Stop

Breaion King is a school teacher, a dancer, a singer and a child of God.  Before all else, she is those things.  It broke my heart, the part of the film where she googles herself to find the photos from when she modeled.  She says those are what used to pop up when you searched her but now you have to scroll a long way to find them, past the mugshots which will never go away.

This film highlights the necessity of dash cams and body cams.  It removes all possibility of relying on he said – she said.  To listen to the arresting officer tell the next officer what occurred, there were differences in his story and what the dash cam showed.  The thing that stood out to me (in retrospect) was his brief description of what occurred (i.e. being that physical with such a small person) and then asking this superior “Are you ok with that?”  Why ask that?  If he wasn’t ok with it, would your story have changed in the subsequent tellings?  I have friends who are police officers, was married to police officer – I know that there are amazing police officers out there.  I also know that there are some that should not be in the role their job provides them. Again, I believe that this film highlights the necessity of video footage so that the actual facts are shown.  There are three sides to every story: yours, mine and the truth.

I watched this film on HBO.  This is the trailer:

Below this are spoilers, my thoughts while watching the film:

  • Austin, Texas – Travis County Jail.  When they open of the shot of the jail garage doors opening/closing, you know it doesn’t bode well for the subject of the film.
  • June 15, 2015
  • There were three dash cams that they used, three different patrol cars.  Holy crap she is so petite, why did it take two backup vehicles?
  • She dances, she sings, she loves the children she teaches.  Very creative young woman.
  • I like that she talks self love and the importance of that being taught.
  • I feel SO tense watching the cam video.  I realize my hands are clinched in my lap and I am holding my breath.  That officer is a big person, for a man.  And she is VERY small.  He swings her around with ease. The body slam – so freaking unnecessary.
  • Wait – when in the hell did she take a swing at him?  You sure her arms weren’t flailing around while you were swinging her all over the place?
  • The cop transporting her had the nerve to say that white people are afraid of black people because 99% of the time black people are violent.  Are you fucking kidding me?  I love that she asked how do they know if they are hiring racists.

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