POV: Do Not Resist

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About This Episode


The son of a SWAT team member in Detroit, Craig Atkinson thought he knew what he was getting into when he started a new documentary project on American policing. But after three years of filming, what he discovered was an unprecedented lurch toward militarization for local police forces since 9/11.

With his debut documentary Do Not Resist, Atkinson gives viewers a boots-on-the-ground look at American policing, bringing in perspectives from criminal justice reformers, policymakers and law enforcement leaders in this comprehensive look at a chilling new trend.

Since 9/11 the federal government has given police departments more than $40 billion in military-grade equipment. Most grants include no stipulations on how that equipment should be deployed or any reporting requirements. Throughout 2014 and 2015, Atkinson and his crew watched as departments throughout the county adapted the technologies under the pretense of fighting domestic terrorism. However, as Do Not Resist reveals, this military surplus equipment and surveillance technology is often used on a day-to-day basis to serve search warrants -- almost always in searches for drugs.