The event described in this project is based on an incident that happened to Russell Frederick in New York City in 1991. The words spoken are the exact words he used to describe the incident when interviewed in October 2016.
Artist and director Bayeté Ross Smith created this project with POV to explore how identity and appearance affect our perception of the stories we are told and of "truth". This work also questions the criteria for determining reliable sources of information and history.
About the incident, Russell said: "This was my first time being arrested by the police – it was for disorderly conduct. I have no criminal record. After I was arrested, I was assaulted with a nightstick in the police car. At the station, the arresting officer told the desk sergeant that I cursed at him when he asked me to turn down the music, and when he asked me a second time, I cursed at him again. The officer didn't mention being on the phone or the crowd that gathered."
“Know your rights; abuse of power by law enforcement must end.”
– Russell Frederick 2017
Executive Producers: John MacFarlane & Bayeté Ross Smith
© Bayeté Ross Smith