• Story Archive


    The Message

    The Message is an award-winning documentary short featuring the collective voice of various individuals and groups who have dealt with police violence on a personal level. Some of them are family members of police murder victims, and others are friends, concerned citizens, and organizers. The film is a series of clips recorded in the cities and towns of New York, NY, Long Island, NY, Albuquerque, NM, and Greensboro, NC. They are clips from personal interviews, personal conversations, television, protests, press conferences and fundraisers from 2012-2013. Despite this film being made several years ago, The Message is still relevant today in regards to the struggle impacted families and communities face.


    Running time: 10 min

    The focus of The Message is to inform the public about the epidemic of Police Brutality as it exists in racial historical context. From a research in 2012, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement found that every 28 hours a Black person is killed by law enforcement and the like in this country. Since 1990, the Stolen Lives Project has documented at least 4,000 fatal cases of Police Brutality. Every year in cities across the nation, actions are organized to bring awareness of the Police Brutality epidemic on October 22nd, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality.


    Gregory Chavis

    of New York, New York

    killed on October 9th, 2004


    The story of Gregory Chavis, as told by his mother, Danette Chavis on October 22nd, 2014, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression & the Criminalization of a Generation.

    Running time: 8 min, 36 sec

    In this video Danette discusses briefly her son's case and then gives her analysis as to why we need a nationwide movement against Police Brutality in America.


    Danette Chavis has been calling for National Action Against Police Brutality for several years with the knowledge that fighting for each individual case will not render justice; rather a nationwide collective awareness and effort will force the authorities to answer to the families who have lost loved ones to police violence, negligence and corruption. She has authored a petition asking for National Action Against Police Brutality. To sign the petition, please click here.


    Filmed on October 22, 2014, Manhattan, NY

    Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart Recipient Kenneth Ellis III was shot and killed by the Albuquerque Police on January 13th, 2010.


    Filmed on November 24, 2012 in Albuquerque, NM


    Nicholas Heyward, Jr.

    of Brooklyn, New York

    killed on September 27, 1994


    The story of Nicholas Heyward, Jr., as told by his father, the late Nicholas Heyward, Sr.

    Running time: 5 min, 17 sec

    This is a visual/sound installation of the story of Nicholas Heyward, Jr., who was 13 when he was shot and killed by NYPD Officer Brian George. His father, Nicholas Heyward, Sr., tells the story.


    Published on August 17, 2012, Brooklyn, NY


    Kenny Lazo

    of Bay Shore, New York

    killed on April 12, 2008


    The story of Kenny Lazo, as told by his son's mother, Jennifer Gonzalez.

    Running time: 9 min, 52 sec

    Since Kenny's death, Jennifer has become a pillar in the Long Island community for residents who have experienced police violence. In 2010, Jennifer helped establish the Justice for Kenny Coalition, a Long Island-based anti-police brutality coalition that utilizes art and hip hop as a method to organize and raise awareness of the rampant police brutality locally and nationwide. Currently the Lazo family has a pending wrongful death civil lawsuit filed against Suffolk County Police Department.


    Filmed in January, 2013, in Brentwood, NY


    Briana Ojeda

    of Brooklyn, New York

    died August 27, 2010


    Michael and Carmen Ojeda, parents of Briana Ojeda, speak at a press conference held in Albany for the passing of Briana's Law.


    Running time: 4 min, 17 sec

    11-year old Briana Ojeda suffered an asthma attack on August 27th, 2010. Her mother, Carmen Ojeda was on her way with Briana to the hospital when she was apprehended by Officer Alfonso Mendez, who she pleaded for help for her daughter's condition. Not only did Mendez refuse to provide CPR, he proceeded to arrest her for a traffic violation. In the midst of this, little Briana passed away. Briana's Law - which is asking for police officers to receive continual CPR/First Aid training is a law that has just been approved locally, and now the family is pursuing state-wide legislation.


    Filmed on June 12, 2012 in Albany, NY


    Delrawn Small

    of Brooklyn, New York

    killed on July 4th, 2016


    On July 6, 2016, the East New York community came together to mourn the death of Delrawn Small, who was shot and killed by NYPD officer Wayne Isaacs Sunday evening, July 4th, 2016, during a road rage encounter. Small was killed in front of his family.


    Running time: 11 min, 16 sec

    In this video families affected by police violence gathered at the vigil to support the Small family and share their outrage with the community.


    This is mainly uncut, raw footage of the family member speeches including Hertencia Petersen, Aunt of ‎Akai Gurley, Gwen Carr, Mother of Eric Garner, Cynthia Howell, Niece of Alberta Spruill, and Victor Dempsey, Brother of Delrawn Small.


    Filmed on July 6, 2016, in Brooklyn, NY


    Gilbert Barber

    of High Point, North Carolina

    killed on May 18, 2001


    The story of Gilbert Barber as told by his mother, Jessie Barber

    Running time: 9 min, 53 sec

    The September 14, 2013 killing of Jonathan Ferrell in Charlotte, NC, prompted this particular story to be told because of the eery similarities between the two cases. Jessie Barber addresses this in the interview and adds what she feels society needs to focus on in order to overcome this societal ill.


    Filmed on September 19, 2013 in High Point, NC