Sundance Movie Review: Crime + Punishment

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“Crime + Punishment” is a documentary exposing corruption within the New York City Police Department and highlighting a lawsuit being filed against them by the NYPD 12.

The NYPD 12 is comprised of 12 black and Latino NYPD officers. In 2015 they came forward on NBC to tell their experiences with the corruption and discrimination they’ve faced within the department and the lawsuit they’ve filed against the NYPD.

Currently there is a law in New York City that prohibits police departments from using ticket quotas for revenue. The NYPD 12 claimed that their supervisors still pressured them to meet certain quotas to improve their job performance.

This documentary highlights the people within the NYPD 12, people affected by corruption from the police department, and the journey of the lawsuit that was filed against the NYPD.

Now retired commissioner of the NYPD, William Bratton, said the claims are false. Bratton retired a year after the claims were made, but it is unknown if the lawsuit was the leading cause of his retirement.

The New York Times ran a feature giving the full story of Edwin Raymond, a lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the NYPD.

The documentary follows several different situations, exposing the internal and external corruption from the department. It includes the hidden cameras and audio recordings of the supervisors pressuring the officers to reach quotas.

The documentary advocates for the end of police corruption in New York City as well as other police departments across the country. It highlights the effects corruption has on communities by telling the story through individuals and their situations. That is what made me empathize the struggles the individuals were going through. It put into perspective how severe the problem is, and why it needs to be addressed.

The stars of the documentary attended a screening at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where a question and answer session was held after the film. Being able to see them in person made the film even more real. Sometimes watching a documentary can make it hard to relate to the story being told, but being able to see it in person really brought it to life.

I thought it was tastefully filmed by including legitimate and transparent stories. I do wish they had been able to include information or get an interview from the commissioner or a leading official in the department.

The director, Stephen Maing, is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and a visual journalist based in Brooklyn, NY. Maing released another short documentary called, “The Surrender,” which received a 2016 World Press Photo Award for Best Documentary, Pictures of the Year International’s first prize in Documentary Journalism and was nominated for a 2016 Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Documentary.

As of now, it is unknown if the films will be released to the public.




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