A person of color is killed by a police officer, security worker or vigilante every 36 hours in the United States. In New York City, where police are under federal scrutiny for their racist stop and frisk policies, at least 25 people have died at the hands of law enforcement since 2012. This is the story of one community's quest for justice.
Defended In The Streets is a narrative told by Kimani's friends, family, and the people of East Flatbush. Taking an investigative approach into the death of Kimani Gray, it also tells the story of a community's fight for justice and builds the connections between police brutality, Stop and Frisk, racial profiling, and mass incarceration.
Your contributions will help get this film made! Type the amount of your donation in the field and click the Donate button. You will be redirected to WePay.We are only seeking compensation for out-of-pocket expenses. To learn more about us and the film's needs, click here to visit our WePay campaign page.
Unlike nearly all documentary makers, we are not asking for compensation for our time; we will continue to volunteer our time and keep the film's budget minimal. We only seek compensation for out-of-pocket expenses.
So far, the most expensive purchases have been sound equipment we needed to make our audio worthy of theatrical releases. We anticipate that once the film is completed, we will need to raise funds for the distribution campaign. We are logging our expenses at http://bit.ly/kimanifilmexpenses and publishing the receipts at http://bit.ly/kimanifilmreceipts We will update these documents as expenses come up.
We are a small team of filmmakers, independent journalists and video activists who are investigating the circumstances surrounding the police shooting of Kimani Gray.
Raven Rakia is a photographer and filmmaker who documents prison justice work. She has also worked on two previous documentaries: one on the labor movement in New York and one on LGBT activism in Maryland.
Kelly Stuart is a playwright, videographer, and lecturer at Columbia University. Recent plays and short documentaries have dealt with human rights issues in Turkey. She received the 2012 Saroyan Award for her play Belonging to the Sky, about murdered Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.
Atiq Zabinski has been a video activist since the start of the Occupy movement. He continues to be a prolific contributor to the YouTube Channel of Occupy Wall Street OccupyTVNY and his weekly public access TV show Occupy Brooklyn TV is archived on the YouTube Channel Occupy Public Access TV.
Be informed of film screenings, free downloads, our latest short videos, and other news about Defended In The Streets! Add your name and e-mail address to our mailing list, Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to OccupyTVNY, the YouTube channel of Occupy Wall Street, where we upload our videos.
On March 9, 2013, 16-year-old Kimani "Kiki" Gray was shot dead by plainclothes police officers in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. The police claimed that the youth had pulled a gun on them, and quickly released his arrest record to the public. The media assisted the police in portraying him as a gang member and turning public sympathy away from the slain teen. While Kimani was vilified, his killers -- Sgt. Mourad Mourad and Officer Jovaniel Cordova -- were depicted as heroes who had been "commended for acts of bravery on patrol" in the past.
Kimani's community, however, had a different story to tell. Witnesses soon came forward saying Kimani had no gun in his hands and was laying on the pavement, pleading for his life, as the cops continued to fire. Protesting the depiction of him as a criminal, his school principal, teachers, and classmates wrote to the press, describing him as a friendly, creative young man who never missed school and was always smiling. Meanwhile, facts about the officers' previous civil rights violations began to surface. So far the city has paid more than $200,000 in settlements over Mourad and Cordova's abuses, which have included the falsification of evidence and excessive use of force.
Hundreds of youth protested in the streets following his death. The community continues to defend Kimani's name through monthly vigils.
Since the mass protests beginning March 12, 2013 we have been shooting footage and making short videos about the events since Kimani's killing. Here are a few selections. Join our mailing list to be notified whenever we upload videos, or subscribe to the OccupyTVNY YouTube Channel.
Under the scrutiny of police, friends and family gather with community organizers and activists for the first of the monthy candlelight vigils for Kimani. Featuring powerful speeches by Shanduke McPhatter (Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Change) and Jose LaSalle (Stop Stop and Frisk Freedom Fighters.)
Kimani's mother, in the accompany of Councilman Charles Barron, after a meeting at the District Attorney's office, and speaking at the Easter Day vigil for Kimani. Click here if clicking playlist doesn't make it play.
Protests reached their peak the night of March 13, when hundreds of youth defied an overwhelming police force. 46 arrests were made. Here is a playlist of footage from that night. Click here if clicking playlist doesn't make it play.
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