Witness features actual audio of a young African-American man negotiating his life with the police. The man repeatedly asks for the camera, foreshadowing the role of the camera as a witness. Violating protocol, the officers release a K-9 on the victim and shoot 81 rounds at the victim without seeing a weapon. The subject bleeds to death on the front porch and his "gun" is merely a flip-flop sandal.


This video is a meditation on police brutality. As a contemporized version of enslaved Aunt Hester's scream in which Frederick Douglass sits in the closet while his Aunt Hester is assaulted by her master and Douglass imagines the actual scene, this video examines the utility of sound as a racialized impetus for constructing "the terrible spectacle." This film interrogates systemic projections of blackness--projections that can be countered by alternative witnesses.

 

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