“Middle Men,” is the story of communities of color and the middlemen who stand between them and the policy makers. This documentary signifies contributing elements that played a role in the unarmed deaths of five New York victims since 1994. A voice is given to the family members of these victims, former officers, agencies and educators who share their opinion about the various failings on the part of New York law enforcement and on a deeper level, failings rooted in the concept of a two tier criminal justice system where people are treated differently because of their race, wealth, or ethnicity.
Former officers explain a policing system mired in so much bureaucracy that over time, they found it difficult to exhibit any type of discretion in the communities they served. As ‘Compstat’, the number driven model became more prevalent, issues of targeting also grew in unison with police officer shootings. To understand this association, we researched the evolution of policing from post slavery to the current use of ‘Compstat’, and found whether it was because of the war on drugs or broken windows offenses, how the criminal justice system treated people of color seemed rooted in old white supremacist values of keeping ‘the people’ in line, cheap labor, and continued colonization despite whether an individual officer was actually racist. The problematic values deeply weighed in systematic policies and laws police officials are bound by and exhibited by officers of all races, nationality and genders. Policing is revealed as a mentality, a culture of ‘self’ with too much power over the public.
This excess in power has real implications and is riddled with civil rights abuses across all cultures in the United States. In the cases of the families interviewed, their nightmare did not end there. Yet through their efforts their children live on. They fight not only for the justice of their children but for future generations to come.
Marcus Stukes is from Long Island, NY. He is a graduating senior attending CUNY Brooklyn College with a major in Film Production. He is currently editing two narrative short films in the Brooklyn College Film Department and has been an active member on other projects within the department. He has previously interned with ‘Things Are Changing Productions’ and is a current intern and video editor assistant with ‘Mindz Productions’. After graduation, he plans to continue growing his career in the film industry as a thriving story editor.
David Nazario is a professional writer, educator, and speaker.
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