Short Film: BLACK BEFORE BLUE, 33min., USA

To be Black and a police officer in the United States’ third largest local law enforcement agency, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), is to take an oath to serve while facing racial disparities within the department itself. Black Before Blue holds space for a forum of intimate conversations between twenty-one Black retired and active police officers as they unveil racial and gender discrimination they’ve experienced in the department.
Their assimilation into the blue brotherhood came with hurdles that were setup by their counterparts, and anchored by bigotry. As a result, these Black officers struggled in the hiring process, experiencing disproportionate promotion opportunities despite having qualifications in alignment with their colleagues, and they frequently experienced increased disciplinary sanctions when compared to their peers. Black women in particular often experienced careers riddled with discriminatory consequences related to both their gender and ethnicity— a “double-edged sword.”
As the officers’ stories of the past parallel those of present day, they express their frustrations about recent viral incidents of police brutality and the resulting worldwide civil unrest, concerned that history could repeat itself. From recalling the days before squad cars were racially integrated to anecdotes about their white colleagues’ frequent use of the n-word, these emotionally honest stories expose the truth about what concerned them about the department, and give insight into what inspired them to see their journeys through.

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