Some of the victims—Eric Garner, Michael Brown—are now familiar the world over. Others, like Shantel Davis and Kimani Gray, are remembered mostly by family and friends in their New York neighborhoods. Profiled knits the stories of mothers of black and Latin youth murdered by the NYPD into a powerful indictment of racial profiling and police brutality, and places them within a historical context of the roots of racism in the U.S.
Ranging from the routine harassment of minority students in an affluent Brooklyn neighborhood to the killings and protests in Staten Island and Ferguson, Missouri, Profiled bears witness to the racist violence that remains an everyday reality for black and Latin people in this country. (As the film notes, the New York Police Department has killed almost 300 people since 1995.) Moving interviews with victims’ family members are juxtaposed with sharply etched analyses by evolutionary biologist, Joseph L.Graves, Jr, (The Race Myth) and civil rights lawyer, Chauniqua D. Young, (Center for Constitutional Rights, Stop and Frisk lawsuit).
We experience the grief families suffer in the face of such tragedies, the struggles women confront raising children in segregated neighborhoods that present few options for the young, and their anger at a justice system that often seems pitted against them. The women organize vigils and rallies to keep the memory of their loved ones alive and seek indictments of the officers responsible for the deaths. As their demands for justice areignored we see them transition from grieving parents to activists who join the growing grass roots movement against police brutality and racial profiling that is now spreading across the country.
With its ambitious scope and a wealth of contemporary footage, Profiled gives us a window on one of the burning issues of our time.