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Guardian Documentaries presents ‘The Black Cop: An Officer Atones His Past’

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The Black Cop, a short documentary supported by the BFI Doc Society Fund (awarding National Lottery funding) and commissioned by Guardian Documentaries, tells the story of Gamal Turawa, otherwise known as “G”, a former Metropolitan Police officer who admits to racially profiling and harassing Black people in the early days of his career.

This story is a multi-layered one and sits in the centre of three pivotal moments in recent history; from the Black communities’ resistance of oppressive policing, to the push for equality from the LGBTQIA community and the aftermath of the West African farming* phenomenon.

Using archive and dramatic reconstruction to illustrate his story, “G” takes viewers on a journey through his childhood and professional development as he grapples with issues of racial and sexual identity and acceptance. He admits, despite being a victim of racialised bullying himself, to targeting young Black men for controversial stop and searches in a quest for finding acceptance in the force. He delves into his once complicated relationship with race and how it became  a bargaining tool while seeking recognition from white colleagues.  Most importantly, “G” shares how he turned these experiences around and now dedicates his time to helping others on their quest for self-acceptance.

A private fostering or adoption arrangement outside the remit of the local authority where white families took care of black children. It gained notoriety in response to a growing population of African student families taking up temporary residence at British universities in the mid-1950s. The practice continued until the 1990s.

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The Black Cop will be released on the Guardian website on Wednesday 19 January 2022.

Cherish Oteka, Director of The Black Cop comments:     ‘To date, many of the documentaries I’ve made have explored identity,  discrimination and institutional bias but never through the lens of  someone who sits on all sides of the conversation. The Black Cop is an exploration of self-hatred and the devastating effects it can have. “G” isn’t someone that we can easily discard as a horrible person, he is someone who acted out of pain as we all have. In one person and one story we present a villain, victim and hero and begin to  understand the potential that we all have in being any one of these  if not all three.’

Lindsay Poulton, Head of Documentaries at the Guardian comments:‘We are delighted to have had the opportunity to support Cherish to explore this story of identity and acceptance and are proud of the creative, thoughtful documentary that they have made. It has been a pleasure to witness this film spark insightful conversations at film festivals and we are excited to launch it on our digital platforms.’

Lisa Marie Russo, Executive Producer for the BFI Doc Society Fund comments: ‘We were struck by Cherish and producer Emma Cooper’s compassionate approach to telling the complex story of “G.” Cherish’s intimate and immediate interview style, supported by emotional archive and sometimes shocking visuals, mark them out as a talent to watch.’

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The Black Cop has been screened at Aesthetic Short Film Festival, Raindance Film Festival, Out On Film, Atlanta’s International LGBTQ Film Festival, The Pan African Film & Arts Festival, Leeds International Film Festival, American Black Film Festival and British Shorts Film Festival.

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