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NYPD: Biggest Gang in New York? (2016)

In the wake of the shooting of five Dallas police officers, BBC Three investigates why tension is rising between America's police forces and ethnic minorities. Shot on the streets of New ... See full summary »

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In the wake of the shooting of five Dallas police officers, BBC Three investigates why tension is rising between America's police forces and ethnic minorities. Shot on the streets of New York, the film follows 'Cop Watchers' - men and women who track the NYPD in a cat-and-mouse game to try and film arrests and possible cases of brutality. NYPD officers also speak out, alleging systemic racism and a policy of targeting ethnic minority communities in order hit their arrest quotas.

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2 August 2016 (UK)  »

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One sided look at 'Cop Watchers'
22 August 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This documentary mixes footage from 'cop watchers' with interviews and footage of those same people in New York.

The general theme is one of denigrating the NYPD, highlighting specific examples of perceived abusive behaviour and the impacts it has on individuals involved.

What's missing is any semblance of balance. Although two NYPD members are interviewed neither is in a position to represent the organisation and their inclusion is constrained to support the documentary narrative. No visible attempts or quotes come from New York officials, police or otherwise; all the footage and interviews are with the perceived recipients of injustice.

Although there may be an issue with the NYPD and some of the scenes are not pleasant and do infer a behavioural challenge, ultimately this is a propaganda piece, biased in its outlook, biased in its presentation and doing a disservice to the very people that contributed to it.

It's a shame, there is material here that could have become a good documentary. Better journalistic investigation, proper interviews with officials and even a delay in release so that story arcs could be completed would have made this a far stronger piece of work. In its current form, it can't be recommended.


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