28 user 11 critic

Traffic Stop (2017)

Traffic Stop tells the story of Breaion King, a 26-year-old African-American school teacher from Austin, Texas, who was stopped for a routine traffic violation that escalated into a ... See full summary »


Kate Davis
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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What happens when an ordinary traffic stop turns out to be not so ordinary?



Traffic Stop tells the story of Breaion King, a 26-year-old African-American school teacher from Austin, Texas, who was stopped for a routine traffic violation that escalated into a dramatic arrest. Caught on police dashcams, King was pulled from her car by the arresting officer, repeatedly thrown to the ground and handcuffed. En route to jail in a squad car, she engaged in a revealing conversation with her escorting officer about race and law enforcement in America. The documentary juxtaposes dashcam footage with scenes from King's everyday life, offering a fuller portrait of the woman caught up in this unsettling encounter. Written by Anonymous

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Documentary | Short


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Featured in The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2018: Documentary (2018) See more »

User Reviews

An important topic, but poor case to use.
17 February 2018 | by thethomasboySee all my reviews

The topics of systemic racism, police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement are supremely important (especially in today's America), which is why I was so disappointed in this weak and slanted documentary about the "brutal arrest" of Austin school-teacher Breaion King. Police incidents boil down to the human beings involved, their backgrounds, perceptions and subsequent actions/reactions.

This would have been an excellent opportunity to explore those by profiling both King AND Officer Richter, to solid context for understanding the issue and finding a solution to it. Instead director Kate Davis choose to go to great lengths placing King in the warmest light possible for cheap shock value. The result is an emotionally manipulative profile featuring iPhone videos of her daughter's ballet recital, tearful stories of her struggles of being raised by and then being a single-parent, and the most out-of-context news coverage possible.

On top of this, (while unfortunate,) the arrest video clearly shows a suspect trying to get out of a ticket, being uncooperative, and playing up the scene for any cameras present. In response, the Officer is compelled to escalate in order to do his job, and did so in a calm, respectful tone of voice without his gun, tazer, baton or punches. A cop asking you to stay in your car, or put your feet inside (to close the door) is not unreasonable. But trying to frustrate a cop so much that he won't write you a ticket IS unreasonable. As a relatively mild misunderstanding, this was an opportunity for both sides to LEARN, to tamp down fear on both sides, and create a better bridge of understanding.

Instead of elevating the conversation, the director does harm to her own cause and sets us back on this important issue. First: It will be quickly dismissed by Blue Lives Matter supporters for what it is: a propaganda piece with an (unfortunate) but not brutal ordinary traffic stop with a difficult suspect. Second: it lends credence and legitimizes right-wing docs like "Obama's America" (2012) by saying all docs are political.

This is a disturbing trend in "Documentaries" these days: Heavy-handed, thinly-sourced, and purposefully unbalanced clearly intended to sway viewers based on a political agenda. Documentaries have the potential to become the new "investigative journalism," for the short attention span audiences of today, educating the electorate, and pulling people out of their bubbles. If you strongly believe your 'side' is right, showing the entire truth should bear that out. Save the fact-picking for historical dramas.

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Official Sites:

Official site HBO





Release Date:

14 November 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Traffic Stop See more »

Filming Locations:

Austin, Texas, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Q-Ball Productions See more »
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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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