How to Shoot a Promo

The El Paso Police Department got it dead right with this 1992 promo.

“This is coming to you from El Paso PD and the homies from the hood.”

By starring in it themselves and using the medium of rap, they must have dissuaded hundreds from a life of gang-banging. Possibly thousands. (Hilarious link via Minivegas.)

Easy to forget in all this how a police promo could go wrong. Unless…

Let the public shoot it on their mobile phones. Spontaneously. While you’re killing an unarmed civilian on a public subway platform. (CAUTION: this video is not for the squirmish – and will leave you confused and angry.)

The BART police shooting of Oscar Grant on New Year’s day has triggered another sad episode in US race relations.

Since the video started circulating on YouTube, there have been riots in Oakland. Apparently with little coverage in the national media. Now that sounds familiar.

thomas-hawk-oakland-riots

This photo comes from a Flickr collection by Thomas Hawk. Very few pictures around at the moment, from what I can tell.

If the national media keeps their back turned on this one I’m sure the public can do the promo for them. And they won’t like it.

More on the 2009 Oakland riots:

‘Pigs Go Home’: New America Media

Report from the Oakland Riots: Vibe

Video of the Oscar Grant protest

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