Message to the Grass Roots: Police Brutality: Myth or Reality

An episode of Message to the Grass Roots, a cable access talk show produced & hosted by Michael Zinzun from 1988-1998 at Pasadena Community Access Corporation, which is now Pasadena Media . This first program is devoted to police brutality.

Note: Field footage of police violence is highly graphic and some may find it disturbing.

00:00Copy video clip URL Color bars. Title screen, “Message to the Grass Roots with Michael Zinzun. Police Brutality: Myth or Reality Part I.” Guests: “Don Wheeldin, Don Jackson, John C. Burton.” Zinzun introduces his guests and plays a video clip in which he is seen critiquing the blanket term “gang member,” that tarnishes young people. Graphics documenting victims of police abuse are shown. 

5:03 Return to the interview. Zinzun asks Wheeldin if he thinks policing is the answer to gang violence. Wheeldin says that a community itself must take more responsibility for the gang activity by providing better support systems for young people. They speak about the reasons that young people may be attracted to gangs, and outside perceptions of them. Clip of two police officers interacting with a few people on a sidewalk, including a man in a wheelchair. They arrest one of the men.

15:57 Return to the interview. Jackson speaks about how police activity has done nothing to decrease gang violence. They speak about the attitude that police have towards minority communities. Zinzun asks if they feel that racism plays a major factor in cases of police brutality, and then plays another clip of police violently arresting someone. Jackson speaks about racism playing a part in police stations. Footage of a home destroyed by the infamous Dalton Street raid by the LAPD. Attorney Burton speaks about police using search warrants as an excuse to violently destroy the homes of low-income people. 

31:28 Interview ends. Credits.

32:19 Title screen “Message to Grassroots with Michael Zinzun. Police Abuse: Myth or Reality Part II” Guests: “Linda Jordan, Mary Davis, Meta McCullough.” Zinzun introduces his guests, and then shows a video of police arresting people violently. Zinzun invites viewers to call in or send mail to the show. Zinzun asks Jordan to describe her encounter with police violence. She describes a violent encounter with officers after she called the police for help; she was acting as a foster parent when the birth parents arrived illegally at her residence. She, rather than the trespassing individuals, was harassed. Zinzun gives information for people to report instances of police violence.

43:00 Zinzun asks Davis to describe her encounter with police violence. She describes witnessing police violently arresting four young people, and then being arrested herself for watching the encounter. Another clip of police violently arresting someone.

51:10 Return to the interview. Zinzun asks McCullough about The Grass Roots Issues Organizing Team, an organization that works to improve community organizations for important issues. They talk about ways to involve residents and to keep police accountable. Credits.

1:01:11 Tape ends.



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