Men in camouflage carrying assault rifles looking on as a group of teenagers march past them holding protest signs. A mine-resistant military vehicle passing through a quiet neighborhood. State agents smashing the windows as they raid a family's home. No, this isn't Syria or North Korea or Bahrain. This is America and its police forces, as shown in the chilling and superb new documentary Do Not Resist.
The filmmaker is Craig Atkinson, whose own father was a police officer on a Detroit-area SWAT team. But we don't see his father or the man behind the camera, and there is no narration—instead, Atkinson lets the footage breathe, lets the images speak for themselves. We are taken to the street level in Ferguson as demonstrations unfold amid police repression, inside hyper-macho police training sessions where an instructor tells recruits they'll have the best sex of their lives after they kill a person, and we join a SWAT team as they execute a no-knock raid on a black man's home in West Virginia. After tearing up the home, they find one ounce of marijuana in an old backpack.
Even for those who think of themselves as familiar with the problem of "police militarization" in America, this film is gripping, eye-opening, and haunting. Don't resist—go see it.