Activist filmmaker, Rochelle White provides audiences with an in-depth feature length social justice impact documentary film shot in an interview intensive format using 24 mm to 50 mm lenses. The NYPD, Gwen Carr, Kadi Diallo, William Bell, retired officers, Matt Fogg, Daniel Model, and Baron Marquis take center stage as the primary characters in the film. These individuals share testimonies representing both sides of the law, providing an unbiased account for the viewers.
Middle Men paints a clear picture of policing in the context of race, targeting, mass incarceration, and democracy, while exploring the complexities of working as a police officer (a middle man) in this day and age. White explores the idea that” middle men” may unconsciously be contributing to mass incarceration and racism out of a need to meet quotas under the Compstat policing model. In the film, White delves into the multifaceted topic of policing, placing a particular emphasis on Compstat, a model currently being used by the NYPD, more commonly known as the mecca of considered to be the mecca of policing, the NYPD.
Using documentary style activism, White provides valuable insight for her audience. The eye opening dialogue that takes place throughout the film is highlighted by commentary that allows the viewer to gain a better understanding of what the politics of policing entails and how it relates to race, police brutality, stop and frisk, mass incarceration and the business of policing. The discourse provided by a diverse group of individuals including retired police officers, lawyers, and professors is an exchange of ideas aimed to enlighten and inspire audiences to educate themselves and work together to demand reform.
While educating the audience, White intertwines interviews from Gwen Carr (mother of the late Eric Garner), Kadi Diallo (mother of the late Amadou Diallo), William Bell (father of the late Sean Bell) and Nicholas Heyward, (father of the late Nicholas Heyward) to tell their stories of what it is like to lose a love one due to the negligence of those put in place to protect and to serve, and how they are coping with the fact that none of their children’s’ killers have been brought to justice.
In an attempt to initiate change, Middle Men takes an in-depth look at all of the factors that fuel this system, including the media’s infatuation with showcasing and perpetuating racial stereotypes.
Middle Men shares testimonies of individuals on both sides of the law. Racism, police brutality and prisons are discussed to explore the type law enforcement encouraged and how these policies have turned people into quotas, quotas into dollars and those who were meant to protect us into middle men.