Ava DuVernay has launched The Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP), a new media initiative to keep watch on police abuse and malpractice.
Police brutality and racial prejudice in U.S. law enforcement and the justice system have dominated headlines across the globe since the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last month.
Appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Monday, Ava announced the creation of LEAP, a fund focused on storytelling around police violence and abuse that will commission projects across film, literature, theatre, dance, fine art, and music.
Explaining how the harrowing images of the unarmed African-American man’s death inspired her to take action, the Selma director told Ellen: “I’ve been thinking a lot about my own rage. My own emotions.
“When I look at George Floyd’s tape, I see my uncles. Not just in a general sense, but he looks like people in my family, like literally the facial features. Every time that that video plays on CNN or anything else, I see people that I love on the ground begging for their life.
“There’s a sense of those images, what we’re asking of each other and the storytelling around these instances, the stories that we’re telling each other, that’s what I’ve been really interested in interrogating. We need to change what those stories are and change the way that we tell them.”
Discussing LEAP’s aims, she added: “We’re asking for narrative change and we’re creating narrative change around police abuse, misconduct and the murder of black people. We’re changing the lens of the story.”
Ava, 47, went into more detail about how the project would tackle abuse of power and brutality in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“There is a lack of accountability happening at police departments, police unions and in the courts, a lack of laws on the books that really protect citizens from officers who have a certain number of grievances,” she explained. “The idea is that if the courts won’t do it, if the police unions won’t do it, if the departments won’t do it, then people can do it.”