Richard Cohen Films - Deadly Force
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Deadly Force - 60 minutes

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Deadly Force

Produced, directed, edited by Richard Cohen   
Cinematography by Baird Bryant, Chris Beaver
Sound Recording by Don Sanders, Carol Yasunaga
Full credits available with DVD.

$39 home video/DVD for personal use
$119 college, university, institution and business with PPR

      On the morning of August 4, 1977, Sgt. Kurt Barz of the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart Division stopped his car to investigate Ron Burkholder, a naked unarmed man on a Los Angeles street corner. Within two minutes, Burkholder lay dead, shot six times.

      The use of 'deadly force' is a recurring and divisive issue in communities across the nation. This powerful and provocative documentary examines police accountability for civilian fatalities by zeroing in on a case that rocked city hall, stirred national press and resulted in the re-writing of gun policy for LAPD officers.

      Deadly Force follows the Burkholder killing through a coroner's inquest and investigation by the district attorney's office. It provides telling insights into the conflicting views of police officials who defend the use of deadly force in dangerous situations and Burkholder's friends and relatives who charge authorities with engineering a cover-up.

"A gripping and persuasive investigation...really a troubling, thoughtful inquiry into the wider subject of police brutality and the whole relationship between society and its custodians of order. ...Chilling, real-life replicas of the political
thriller "Z" ."
   Tom Shales, THE WASHINGTON POST

    read more...

"A devastating documentary"  Linda Gross,
   THE LOS ANGELES TIMES


"Extremely thought provoking"   CHOICE
    read more...

 


 

"Fascinating and provocative.  Rivals any detective drama you've ever seen. 
Remarkably done."
   Dick Brill, SAN FRANCISCO PROGRESS
  
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"Shocking impact"   Zena Jones,
   San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Richard Cohen’s film Deadly Force (1980) presents a disquieting probe into the explosive issue of police use of deadly force. The film is the first complete documentary examination of a police shooting. ...As a classroom supplement the film is sure to generate lively and provocative discussion.”
   DEADLY FORCE Larry Trujillo, Critical Sociology
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Motorcycle police "A major contribution to the discussion and debate in this highly explosive area...powerful."
   Lee Weinberg, Professor of Legal Studies &
   Administration of Justice, University of Pittsburgh

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"Unsettling ...one of the most sensational shootings in
recent Los Angeles history...tough, probing questions."
   Joel Sappell, investigative reporter,
   LOS ANGELES HERALD EXAMINER

"Anatomy of a police shooting..."
   TV GUIDE Close Up
read more...
"The spirit of public disquiet about police brutality..."
     National Institute of Justice, Selective Notification of Information  
    read more... (letter and actual description)

"Disturbing... Photographed in black and white and edited for maximum impact, this will be an emotional experience for viewers. Recommended to motivate discussion and thoughtful inquiry"
    LANDERS FILM REVIEWS    read more...


"Adam-12 was never like this" 
     Howard Rosenberg, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES



WNET Thriteen Ad from THE NEW YORK TIMES, April 4, 1980
    View Ad

Red Victorian Moviehouse, San Francisco, April 1, 1984
    View Flyer
Examining the death scene


Awards:
Special Gold Jury Award
- Houston International Film Festival,
Special Jury Award Athens International Film and Video Festival
Cash Award
Sinking Creek Film Celebration

Production Grants were received from:
THE INDEPENDENT DOCUMENTARY FUND
which is supported by the FORD FOUNDATION
and the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS,
THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE in association with
the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS,
KCET Channel 28 Los Angeles.
 
A production of Hound Dog Films
in association with The Television Laboratory at WNET/13
copyright 1980 Hound Dog Films Limited Partnership   Richard B. Cohen.
 Broadcast on PBS's Non Fiction Television.  

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