You’d have to be living under a rock to have missed the recent outcry and protests that have exploded across the globe since the death of George Floyd at the hands of an American police officer. Renewed support for the Black Lives Matter campaign has been seen across the world, including here in Australia, with Indigenous people and allies joining the cause.
It’s been great to see so many positive responses and resources emerge in the midst of police violence and brutality – and one such example is a new documentary which follows the story of the first Indigenous-run police station in remote Western Australia.
New documentary Our Law highlights how policing can be done right if Indigenous communities are involved, rather than demonised.
The documentary, titled Our Law, has now been announced as a finalist for the Sydney Film Festival’s Documentary Australia Foundation Award. The film follows the lives and stories of Indigenous policeman and woman Brevet Senior Sergeant Revis Ryder and Brevet Sergeant Wendy Kelly, documenting how the department has managed to mend the distrust of police felt by the communities they patrol. The result? Fewer arrests because of reduced crime.
Distrust and anger towards the police is not a foreign concept amongst Indigenous Australians or people of colour, and rightly so, as more than 430 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people have died in custody since the 1991 Royal Commission. But the documentary highlights the ways in which this relationship can be healed with community-led policing, cultural awareness, and respect.
Director of the film, Cornel Ozie, reiterated this idea: “We had to get it right because it’s an important story to tell and we didn’t want it to just feel like a police PR piece. We wanted to show that no, the reason why it’s working is because the community is involved in the process as well.”
With the music industry making a stance to support the BLM movement, it is expected that the film and television industry will follow suit. Netflix has also recently announced a new Black Lives Matter genre.
If you want to catch Our Law, head here to rent it now via the Sydney Film Festival until June 21. Otherwise, sit tight until June 22nd when NITV will feature the documentary on free TV at 8.30 pm.