Director: Mike Nell Run Time: 83 min. Rating: Not Rated
Lives are left in pieces after a white cop responds to a violent hostage call and kills a black man only to learn he may have been set up. Facing trial, he must find the person responsible while examining his own accountability.
Many films have taken on the subject of racism in America with hoods and robes or swastika tattoos. In contrast to these stories, Blindfire spotlights the equally dangerous, conditioned, unconscious racism and biases instilled in everyday citizens from years of stereotypes and lack of representation.
While working on the Netflix documentary 13th, I experienced a heartbreaking number of videos showing the death of unarmed black men at the hands of officers sworn to protectthem. Men who did not identify as racist but nevertheless found themselves in the middle of these tragedies. I asked myself, “How could this happen? What would I do if I was the officer who caused this trauma?” I wanted to see someone take ownership for their actions.
On December 28th, 2017, a man in Wichita opened his door to officers that were responding to a hostage call. An officer shot the suspect within seconds only to later discover thatthe call was fake and the unarmed victim was oblivious to the events. This incident was one of the first deaths caused by SWATTING, the act of making a false report to police to illicit an armed response to a victim’s residence.
This tragic event inspired Officer Bishop to form in my mind. An officer who in a critical moment made the worst decision of his life. A man haunted by that event, who must analyze what led him to see an unarmed man in his own doorway as a threat and to kill him. Was this man a threat or did Officer Bishop project his own fears on to him because of what he looked like? Is that projected fear an excuse for murder?
It is my belief that by Officer Bishop taking ownership for his actions, we can further conversations about how best to deal with these tragedies and create an example of better paths to justice as well a redemption.
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