Filmmaker Jason Pollock conducts a revealing investigation into the Ferguson shooting.
Stranger Fruit, an explosive documentary retracing the events surrounding the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, begins with an image of the Ferguson, Missouri, African-American high school grad proudly wearing his cap and gown.
He’d die eight days later, unarmed, of multiple gunshot wounds at the hands of white police officer Darren Wilson, who would ultimately be exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing by a state grand jury, igniting a firestorm of protests in Ferguson and throughout the country.
Determined to set the record straight, director Jason Pollock (a protege of Michael Moore) opens his own investigation — and the damning, emotionally charged results clearly struck a chord with the audience at its SXSW world premiere, which was attended by Brown’s mother, Lezley McSpadden.
Thanks to Pollock’s dropping of a major bombshell in the form of additional surveillance footage that had evidently been suppressed by Ferguson police, the film (the title draws upon the lynching protest poem “Strange Fruit”) may even generate traction in efforts calling upon the Department of Justice to reopen Brown’s case.
Brown’s graduation from Normandy High was a big deal at a school with a four-year graduation rate of 61.5%. He was just about to head off to college when he and a friend were detained in a police ped (“pedestrian”) stop that went terribly wrong, with Wilson, claiming he feared for his safety, firing a dozen shots at Brown — the last one fatally penetrating his skull.