Ava DuVernay is lauching a storytelling project series to shine a spotlight on police abuse
Ava DuVernay is debuting a new set of projects aimed at telling stories of police brutality and center focus on the officers who have killed Black Americans. Through her Array Alliance nonprofit, DuVernay launched the new Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP) with the hope to hold police officers accountable, whether or not they have been charged for their crimes.
DuVernay’s LEAP will fund 25 projects over the next two years, spanning from movies, theater, photography, music, poetry, dance, and sculpture, according to The Washington Post.
“I’m used to watching racist, violent images,” DuVernay told the Post on June 8th. “So why did George Floyd’s final moments devastate me like it did? I realized that it was because this time the cop isn’t hidden behind a body cam or distorted by grainy surveillance video. This time, I can see the cop’s face.”
She continued, “I started to realize how rare that is. And that led me to think, ‘how many of these police officers do we never see?’ They disappear, end up leaving town, and show up in another department. Their names are said, but it’s never amplified and it’s kind of like this group contract. Somehow, we, as American citizens, have agreed to not speak their names. I do not agree to that anymore.”
DuVernay’s first LEAP-funded project will be released in August.
DuVernay is the filmmaker behind projects like 13th, Selma, and When The See Us, the 2019 miniseries about the Central Park Five—wrongly accused teenagers who suffered at the hands of law enforcement and a broken criminal justice system. She, like so many of us, is tired of cops who kill walking free.
The cop who killed Eric Garner is 2014 was finally fired five years after Garner’s death. Both Breonna Taylor‘s and Tamir Rice’s killers have yet to be charged. Some cops who have unjustly killed Black Americans, like Betty Jo Shelby who killed an unarmed Black man in 2016, was acquitted and now serves on another police department where, according to The Post, she teaches a course called “The Ferguson effect,” when “a police officer is victimized by anti-police groups and tried in the court of public opinion.”
“We allow officers who do harm to disappear,” DuVernay told Ellen DeGeneres on the June 7th episode of Ellen.
There are ways to get involved in DuVernay’s projects. You can either help fund LEAP artistic endeavors or amplify a project already in production. Sign up to do either via LEAP’s website.