Though a grand jury opted not to indict the police officer who killed Eric Garner using a chokehold during his July 2014 arrest, a new film is staging a mock trial of what could have happened, had the jury’s decision differed.
Entitled American Trial, the film is being directed by Roee Messinger. Alena Svyatova is producing, with Ralph Richardson and Eboni K. Williams serving as executive producers. It is currently in production in New York City.
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American Trial is set to include the testimonies of real-life witnesses and the examination of actual evidence, including the contemporaneous cellphone video of the incident, eyewitness testimonies from Staten Island’s Bay Street on the day of Garner’s death and the medical examiner’s autopsy report. It takes place in a courtroom setting, complete with actual lawyers, a judge and a verdict on the criminality of the actions of NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo (currently unknown, as a 15-day “trial” will take place next week). Both Garner’s mother and wife (pictured above in The Hollywood Reporter’s exclusive image) are also among the onscreen participants.
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“I feel it’s important to make this Eric Garner film at this time to keep blatant injustice of our imperfect system front and center in peoples minds,” Richardson tells THR. “This film is about Eric Garner, but it’s also about the systemic issue of the police brutality of men of color. If this Eric Garner film can help create change for the better, I think we will all benefit from it.”
American Trial is financed by Steven Raiser, Thomas Kenniff, Priya Chaudrhy and Julie Rendelman, as well as a crowdfunding campaign.
This article was originally published on The Hollywood Reporter.