Film: Do Not Resist (2016)

November 21, 2016 | By

DoNotResist_posterFilm: Excellent

Transfer:  n/a

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Genre:  Documentary

Synopsis: Unsettling examination of local police departments accepting federal government grants to purchase army surplus vehicles, leading to a gradual militarization of local law enforcement.

Special Features:   n/a




After serving as cinematographer and co-producer on several documentaries (including 2012’s festival hit Detropia), Craig Atkinson’s directorial debut comes with a bang as the chance positioning with a camera crew in Ferguson, MI, resulted in capturing footage of the street protests and police crackdown, the latter involving the use of heavy decommissioned army surplus vehicles.

According to Atkinson’s meticulous research, the overwhelming use of industrial force isn’t a rarity, and he traces the stages in which an excess of barely-used military gear are granted to local police departments, and coupled with S.W.A.T., they’ve created an overuse of might and become a replacement for street-level, community-based policing. The extra quirk of involving S.W.A.T. teams includes an unexpected revenue stream which transforms costly search and arrest mandates into a for-profit mechanism that enables both federal and local government to seize purported crime assets.

Amid interviews, ride-a-longs with S.W.A.T. teams in small towns, training sessions, conferences, lectures, and congressional investigations, Do Not Resist captures a broken system that ultimately pegs local citizens as perpetual, possible, if not future persons of interest.

Do Not Resist finishes its run at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema this Wednesday.

A podcast interview with director Craig Atkinson is also available via’s iTunes, Libsyn, and YouTube channels, and features a lengthy, detailed discussion of the complex issues captured in Do Not Resist.



© 2016 Mark R. Hasan



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