The Derek Chauvin trial may be over, but Hollywood is still going full throttle with anti-police propaganda. The CW’s high school football drama All American is a prime example, as Monday’s episode, “The Bigger Picture,” created a fictional case about a young, black girl, Tamika Pratt, who was supposedly killed by a racist police officer simply for sleeping in her car. This led to an impassioned plea by student and podcaster Olivia (Samantha Logan) to “burn down the house” and to spread the false claim that policing evolved from slave patrols.
It’s pretty convenient when anti-police Hollywood writers are controlling the script with a made-up case. How can police stand a fair chance in their hands? (Hint: They can’t.) Even before body cam footage is released, the show’s characters are already convinced the situation was racially motivated. In fact, they even go so far as to claim that the footage isn’t being released because the police are trying to hide what really happened because they know the officer is guilty.
All American’s showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll said she pitched the Tamika story in March 2020, before George Floyd, but admits to having an agenda in line with Black Lives Matter and expresses dismay over the recent case of Ma’Khia Bryant, who was shot and killed by an officer as she was about to stab another black girl (who’s life apparently didn’t matter?)
As for the show’s fictional incident, all we know before the footage comes out in the end, is that Tamika was drinking and driving and “had the good sense” to pull over and sleep on the side of the road where she was suddenly woken up and shot by a police officer. This hits Olivia the hardest because she recently was involved in a similar incident and had no problems. “…because I'm the white D.A.'s daughter, the cops offered me a ride home, and Tamika got a death sentence,” Olivia says. “How is that fair?”
Olivia’s friend Kia (Asjha Cooper) organizes a “Justice for Tamika” rally, but when Olivia arrives, she’s surprised to find there’s hardly anyone there. This leads Kia to claim, “Sadly, this was pretty much what I expected. The cries of injustice around black women's murders are always so much quieter: Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Rem'mie Fells. Sadly, I could go on for days with that list.” Right. Never mind the fact that a couple of quick Google Image searches of rallies easily prove this is absolutely false.
Another main character, Coop (Bre-Z), gives a speech at the rally condemning the police and urging everyone to fight in the streets:
Coop: That’s what Tamika deserved. A future full of possibilities, like fallin' in love over the dopest conversation, Makin' it to her college graduation or, shoot, just making it... To another morning salutation. That's what Tamika deserved-- a world that loved her as beautiful and as black as she was, not a police system that judged and failed her, not a grown man with a badge and a gun that was scared of her. The acknowledgement of the brilliance that was her... That's what Tamika deserved. That's what all of us black women deserve because our love, despite what it endures, our bodies continue to nurture and reassure; our minds, our strength the constant cure, so a "thank you" is what Tamika deserved. The poems, the praises, the flowers-- those are all gifts that should have been left at her feet, not a bullet and confusion as she dared to sleep. This is why we're all here today, because her story is not complete. Justice is what she deserves, and until she gets it, we're gonna fight. Right here in these streets, we gonna fight. And I want y'all to take your flower and raise it up in the air right now if you feelin’ me.
After trying and failing to convince her mother to release the body cam footage, Olivia later steals the footage off of her mother’s computer and releases it to the public, as Trey Songz's (who has assaulted a police officer more than once, as well as a woman) BLM song “2020 Riots: How Many Times” plays in the background:
Olivia: We need the whole picture...
♪♪ How many more times? ♪♪ -♪♪ How many ♪♪
Olivia: -so here it is.
Officer: Wake up, ma'am. I said wake up!
Officer: I need you to get out of the car.
Tamika: I just want to-- I'm just trying to sl—
Officer: Come on. I'm not gonna ask again! Let's go!
Tamika: I just want to call my cousin.
Officer: Come on!
Tamika: Why can't I go home?
Officer: Stop fighting us! You're only hurting yourself!
Tamika: I just want to sleep! I'm tired! Naveah will get me! Please! Let me call her!
Officer: You heard me! When will y'all learn, huh?
Tamika: Sleeping on the side of the road is not a crime!
Officer: Stop resisting!
Tamika: I just want to sleep! Get off of me!
Olivia: Tamika was a 21-year-old girl from south L.A., only child of... Rosanna and Lashawn Pratt. She was a cousin... A godmother... A friend. She dreamt of being an engineer and was headed back to Spelman this fall... But she never made it there because the cops, who are meant to serve and protect, saw her as a "y'all," as less than. And my label, as the white D.A.'s daughter, likely saved my life in a similar run-in. But her label, as just another black woman in America, cost Tamika hers, and that is unacceptable.
Policing in this country evolved from slave patrols. It never was and it never will be neutral. There has to be a better way to serve and protect. I mean, there has to be a better system that allows us to make mistakes and still get to live, and it's time to fight for that better system. It is time to burn down the house and rebuild it to look like the non-punitive programs, the community-based violence prevention programs, mental health programs, education. Education, education, education. It's time to defund the police... And it's time to really get justice for Tamika.
Education? Maybe Olivia should try educating herself on the real history of the origins of policing. And, of course, the writers made sure to throw in the racist “y’all” statement. Other than that, we aren’t shown what happens in the altercation, so even in this fictional situation, where the young woman clearly begins to resist arrest and fight with the officer, we have no idea if she did anything else that could have caused the officer to rightfully fire his weapon. What we can safely presume, even in a fictional situation, is that if she hadn’t resisted arrest and physically fought the police officer, she’d still be alive.
But, from what we can hear, it’s clear that Tamika didn’t follow the officers orders, and that’s one simple change that can easily be made that never seems to be talked about in BLM circles and television. But it’s probably the most important one of all.
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