Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers will launch their “As a Matter of Law” series and commemorate MLK50 by screening the Memphis-made documentary Who Will Watch the Watchers? March 30.
“As a Matter of Law: Who Will Watch the Watchers? Screening and Discussion with Filmmaker Gary Moore” will begin at 6 p.m. at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, 1 North Front Street, in the Wade Auditorium.
Who Will Watch the Watchers? tracks the struggles of citizens who were arrested for filming police, then sought justice at City Hall in an election year. The film covers 21st Century hot topics such as citizen videos of police shootings, Black Lives Matter, the police-community divide and the condition of the First Amendment in the Trump era. The feature-length documentary presents something of a case study in grass roots organizing as citizens sought to bring back the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB).
The screening is free of charge and open to the public. It is sponsored by Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Project Mass Incarceration and the Black Law Students Association.
“TACDL is starting a series of presentations called ‘As a Matter of Law,’ which will focus on specifics of defending criminal matters, examining issues that might arise in that process, and we want this film to serve as the subject of the first presentation,” said David “Hawk” Allen, president of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Memphis Law Chapter.
Who Will Watch the Watchers? world-premiered in Los Angeles last fall at the Justice on Trial Film Festival.
The film follows the Memphis United coalition, which fought for police accountability and the revival of the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board in 2015 and which rode a roller coaster of emotional ups and downs in their campaign. A Memphis police officer shot and killed unarmed back-seat passenger Darrius Stewart in the middle of the movement, and organizers and others were targeted in 2017 in a “black list” of persons who were required to be escorted at City Hall.
Paul Garner, organizing director at the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, led the movement after being arrested for attempting to film police outside Manna House homeless refuge Oct. 21, 2013. Four days later citizens filmed police arresting two persons and breaking up a Trolley Night hip-hop cypher on South Main Street.
In addition to dealing with First Amendment issues, the film relates the Fourth Amendment and the landmark Supreme Court case out of Memphis, Tennessee vs. Garner, in how law enforcement officers may or may not use force to stop fleeing suspects.
Freedom Rider Rip Patton narrates the film trailer and the opening and closing sequences of the film.
Moore Media & Entertainment also produced the comedy short, “The Suburban Itch,” and is producing a documentary on the removal of Confederate statues in Memphis and other cities.
Link to film trailer:
Link to film poster sized for Internet:
Link to Memphis Flyer story: