A - American Justice (2017) - Season 1 Episode 2 - Witness

In the year Donald Trump was elected as president, with the relationship between the black community and law enforcement at breaking point over the shooting of unarmed black men, our cameras follow cops and prosecutors in Jacksonville, Florida's 'murder capital.' Arriving at the scene of a mass shooting in one the city's most dangerous apartment complexes - Eureka Gardens - homicide detectives find three gunmen have fired more than fifty rounds at a group of ten people, including a baby, leaving one woman in a critical condition. Despite numerous witnesses, nobody will talk to the police for fear of retribution. Filled with frustration but determined to catch the triggermen, detectives knock on doors in the sweltering heat hoping somebody breaks. This tension is mirrored in the courtroom at the trial of Lenard Anderson, who is accused of shooting another black man in a strip club. Prosecutor Alan Mizrahi battles with the attitude that 'snitches get stitches' and nobody talks to the police. Despite there being more than 300 possible witnesses, it has taken over three years to persuade anyone to testify in court. Will jurors believe the testimony of the victim's friends despite their criminal records? Then relations between the black community and law enforcement take a turn for the worse when Vernell Bing, a 22-year-old black man, is fatally shot by a police officer. Fleeing from the scene of a crime, Vernell crashes head on into the officer's car during a high-speed chase and is shot in the head. Despite the sheriff's office promising a thorough investigation, Jacksonville's streets start to fill with protesters.

Aired: 28 Mar 2017

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