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Director Yance Ford Tells Doc Talk Podcast U.S. Police Power Is Enormous And Unregulated: “Police Aren’t Supposed To Be In Charge Of Themselves”

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What is the purpose of police in the U.S.? To ensure public safety, many people might answer. But that’s a thoroughly misleading definition in the view of Oscar-nominated filmmaker Yance Ford.

In his new documentary Power, premiering on Netflix this Friday, the filmmaker argues policing in America is really about the maintenance and enforcement of a particular social order, one that privileges property-owning members of society while targeting and disadvantaging others.

Ford, who earned an Academy Award nomination for the 2017 film Strong Island, is our guest on the new episode of Deadline’s Doc Talk podcast, co-hosted by Oscar winner John Ridley and Matt Carey, Deadline’s documentary editor. “This film offers an analysis of police history that I’d like you to consider,” the director says at the beginning of Power. “This film requires curiosity or at least suspicion.

I leave that choice up to you.” Power examines how the police emerged as a public institution in the 19th century, with three central thrusts: as slave patrols in the South, to maintain the hegemony of slaveholding interests; as agents of colonial power in the Western United States to enforce land claims against Indigenous people, and as a tool to suppress labor unrest in the Northeastern U.S.

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