In response to the City of Bloomington’s controversial recent decision to purchase an armored vehicle for the Bloomington Police Department, a local Black Lives Matter organization is holding a free screening of the documentary film “Do Not Resist” at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
The film, which was released in 2016, is an investigation into the rapid militarization of American police forces and its negative effects on marginalized and minority communities.
A discussion panel will follow the film.
Vauhxx Booker, community member and organizer of Bloomington Black Lives Matter, said the idea of the event was to compliment the discourse surrounding the armored car with facts and education.
“Following the robust democratic process that the community has had of back-and-forth dialogue, I felt like it would be necessary to illustrate to the community why folks of color and marginalized groups feel so strongly about BPD not purchasing this vehicle,” he said.
Booker said the film was chosen in part because of the acclaim it received upon release — it holds an 89 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes — but also because of its hard-hitting approach to the subject.
“It kind of relayed a transformational experience for some people,” he said. “They really got to see what modern policing has become and how it’s become militarized, and how that disenfranchises certain groups of people.”
Booker said he felt an event like this was necessary because the controversy had stirred up so much fear over local police militarization.
“People are worried, people are scared,” he said. “A lot of people feel like the police should be enhancing, and the police should be using more militarized tactics. This film will help illustrate hopefully how that’s not the best route for a community, and how it actually brings negative outcomes in the community.”
Booker said the panel would include Rasul A. Mowatt, an associate professor in recreation, park and tourism studies, and Rob Stewart Ingersoll, a social and data scientist. He anticipated more panel members but as of Friday could not offer specific names.
Booker said community members will be allowed to ask questions to drive the panel.
He said he hoped the panelists would be able to discuss relevant issues as they pertain to the community’s situation.
“I think they can help talk about the data of how policing affects communities like ours, Booker said. “Hopefully the panel will be able to better illuminate why communities of color are often so leery of policing.”
All in all, he said he hopes the event will offer another step towards finding a satisfactory solution.
The entire city council, as well as the mayor and chief of police, all plan to attend the event, Booker said.
“I hope that we’ll see a mutual understanding of both sides,” Booker said. “I hope it will be a Kumbayah moment where we can all see into each other’s perspectives.”
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