In New York, and across the nation, many officers on the front lines of over-policed minority communities often have a truth to tell. Whistleblower cops are a vital but rarely supported part of criminal justice reform efforts today. These good cops who try to speak out are often retaliated against as minorities themselves or conscientious objectors to harmful policing practice.
The ground-breaking documentary film Crime + Punishment presents never-before-seen first-hand accounts of officers who risk everything and are retaliated against when they try to expose and correct our nation’s most urgent contemporary policing problems. As seen in the documentary, active duty police officers often have little support or incentive to speak out against miscarriages of law and justice they may observe or be pressured to take part in.
Every time a truth-telling voice from within police departments is silenced, criminal justice reform loses a powerful ally. Powerful institutions understand how social control can begin with financial control, so we see a great urgency to support current and future whistleblower cops as well as drive the message of the film.
1. We seek funding to support officers who choose to shed light on discriminatory practices and problems in policing.
Whistleblowers often cite the financial harm that comes to themselves and their families as a reason for not speaking out. This fund will be limited to police officers who have been financially harmed as a result of blowing the whistle on harmful & unjust policing of minority communities or unjust retaliation against minority officers.
Funds will be used to offer support for current and future whistleblower cops. All donations will go towards legal expenses due to unjust retaliation; loss of essential wages due to unjust retaliation; and mental health and wellness services needed due to unjust retaliation.
2. Crime + Punishment seeks funding to expand its social impact and community engagement campaign.
Donations made through UnionDocs are all tax-deductible. Please specify which cause you are donating to in your donation.
Stephen Maing is a two-time Emmy-nominated Brooklyn-based filmmaker. His work merges an interest in underrepresented individuals and communities, and the power of immersive visual language and narrative structures. His feature documentary, High Tech, Low Life, chronicled the gripping story of two of China’s first dissident citizen-journalists fighting state-monitored censorship and was broadcast nationally on PBS. His short film, The Surrender, produced with Academy Award winner Laura Poitras, documented State Department intelligence analyst Stephen Kim’s harsh prosecution under the Espionage Act. It received a 2016 World Press Photo Award for Best Long Form Documentary and was nominated for a 2016 Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Documentary. Stephen is a Sundance Institute Fellow and recipient of the International Documentary Association’s inaugural Enterprise Investigative Journalism grant as well as a John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Reporting Fellow. His most recent feature documentary, Crime + Punishment, was filmed over four years and tells the story of a group of black and Latino whistleblower NYPD cops and one unrelenting private investigator who risk everything to expose illegal quota-based policing and its impact on young minorities. Crime + Punishment was Shortlisted for the Oscar for Best Documentary and received a Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival as well as the IDA’s Courage Under Fire award.
Ross Tuttle is a journalist and documentary producer who has been producing and writing stories about the criminal justice system more than 15 years. He began his career with WGBH Frontline working on documentaries about wrongful convictions—including the Emmy Award winning “An Ordinary Crime,” which resulted in the exoneration of a North Carolina teen. As a print reporter he received a Nation Institute Investigative Grant to write about the Guantanamo Military Tribunals. He produced and directed “Resident Aliens,” an independent documentary about Cambodian-American deportees. And for a number of years, he has covered police-community relations in New York City, co-directing a series of long and short documentaries with Stephen Maing. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, The Nation, Foreign Policy, Huffington Post, CNN.com, and The Baltimore Sun. Currently, he is series producer of a new daily Brooklyn news broadcast and podcast called 112BK, hosted by Ashley C. Ford.