Police brutality

‘Detroit’ director Kathryn Bigelow questioned whether the civil rights era story was hers to tell

Kathryn Bigelow (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

Detroit, a new movie from Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow, takes an up close and personal look at the 1967 Detroit riot, and the horrifying police response that left 43 dead and 1,200 injured. In one scene of the film, as described by John Eligon of the New York Times, a little girl peeks her head out of the window as white law enforcement officers drive by in armored vehicles.

“Sniper in the window!” yells a National Guardsman, as he fires his high powered weapon right at her.

Bigelow, 65, a white woman from Northern California, admitted some qualms about taking on a story about the black experience in civil rights era Detroit. She said that screenwriter Mark Boal, who is also white, shared the script with her shortly after a jury ruled a white officer innocent in the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, in Ferguson, Montana, in 2014.

“It was two things simultaneously,” said Bigelow. “One is kind of a, ‘I’m white, am I the right person to do it?’ And the other is an extremely emotional reaction to the constant recurring of these events.”

But in the end, she said, “To do nothing was not an answer.”

The movie, which opens on Friday, centers around an infamous incident at the Algiers Motel, where police aggressively confronted a number of black teenage boys and two white women staying there before brutally killing three of the boys. In the end, as one might have guessed, the officers would be acquitted of the murders.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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