Flex Your Rights, producers of the excellent short documentary “Busted,” which has been shown on college campuses everywhere, has upped the ante with their new film, which I just watched tonight:
This 40-minute movie should be shown on college campuses, but also in community centers and black churches in inner cities. It deals with the rights of all of us, but particularly focuses on the kinds of encounters that are most likely to plague those who are disproportionately targeted by police.
Trial lawyer William “Billy” Murphy, Jr. leads an audience of individuals from all walks of life who have had negative encounters with the police. He patiently and painstakingly takes them through the basic principles that guide all encounters, including having them memorize such incredibly useful phrases such as:
- I don’t consent to searches
- I’m going to remain silent. I’d like to see a lawyer.
- Are you detaining me or am I free to go?
- I can’t let you in without a warrant.
Parts of it are also a little bit depressing, hearing Murphy explain how flimsy some of our rights have become.
All of the encounters are acted out (with much better production values than “Busted”) and I found the 40 minutes flew by.
It was also fun to see some familiar faces in drug policy reform sitting in the courtroom audience.
But the piÃ¨ce de rÃ©sistance has to be the performance by our friend Scott Morgan who blogs at Stop the Drug War. Scott plays Thug #1. Oh, yeah. Not Thug #2, which is played quite competently by Steve Silverman. No, the number one thug in this movie is definitely Scott Morgan.
I’m thinking there may be an Oscar nomination. That lean-back double-take when he starts running from the police is exceeded in style only by the intentional dive and double roll shortly after, ending with his grotesque mug frozen on the screen, which left me doubled up with laughter (and will give me nightmares tonight). Please, please, please, flex your rights.org â€” turn that sequence into a youtube video so I can watch it over and over again!
Seriously, there’s some excellent stuff on the entire video, and the story of the older woman who lets the cops into her home is very powerful.
Bonus features on the DVD include “10 Rules for Non-Citizens” and “Q&A with 10 Rules’ Creators” (from a session at the 2009 Drug Policy Conference).
Buy 10 Rules for Dealing with Police – it’s only $15. Be entertained and enlightened by it. But don’t stop there. Show it to a group. A large group. There’s no extra charge to do so. Maybe you can get your local library to show it as part of their citizenship series.