WATCH: Good Stop, Bad Stop?
In one scene from FRONTLINE's "Policing the Police," officers stopped an unarmed man and forced him to the ground.
Tonight’s FRONTLINE, Policing the Police, takes viewers on a provocative journey inside one of the many police forces across the country that have been ordered to reform by the Department of Justice (DOJ): the Newark Police Department in New Jersey, which was found to have a pattern of civil rights abuses against the city’s black residents.
Among the DOJ’s findings: about 75 percent of the time, officers were stopping people without legal justification.
Over the past year, our team gained unique access to the Newark police force as it grappled with the prospect of reform — filming tense meetings between the police and the city’s mayor and following beat cops as they patrolled city streets.
What they captured is striking. In the below scene, from tonight’s film, officers in Newark’s Gang Unit approach and stop a young black man on the street. Was it a good stop or a bad stop? Watch it play out, and decide for yourself:
In Policing the Police, correspondent Jelani Cobb, a staff writer at the New Yorker, examines the challenges of changing how cops operate in a place like Newark: a poor city plagued by violent crime, where the victims and perpetrators are usually black, and the police force itself is largely black and Latino. It’s a raw and complex look at a police force in transition and the wary community it serves — and a powerful case study in the broader debate over policing in America.
Policing the Police premieres Tuesday, June 28 at 10 p.m. EST/9 p.m. CST on PBS (check your local station for listings) and online.