137 Shots: A New Netflix Doc Exploring 2012 Cleveland Police Chase and Shooting

137 Shots is a 1h 45m documentary from Netflix, rated 15. The Netflix tagline reads:

“In this documentary, law enforcement faces scrutiny as Americans demand justice after police violence claims multiple Black lives in Cleveland.”

The documentary comes from Cleveland native Michael Milano, a writer, director, and film/TV producer, known for documentaries such as Burning Ojai: Our Fire Story, and The Blue Wall. 137 Shots documents a 22-minute police chase in November 2012 that ends in the deaths, by shooting, of two people who were afterward found to be unarmed.

We are shown footage tracking the chase through crowded streets, from dashboard cameras and helicopters following the car. Audio recordings can also be heard, from officers involved in the car chase and responsible for the resulting hail of bullets. We are played reenactments of videos taken by witnesses to the shooting, and audio recordings from calls made by witnesses also.

13 Cleveland police officers played their part in the shooting where 137 shots were fired at the two unarmed people, still in their car. 137 Shots covers the trial of one of the police officers involved, Michael Brelo. He fired 49 of those 137 shots, meaning that he had to stop to reload his weapon during the shooting. He was acquitted on charges of manslaughter. In the documentary, we can see and hear court testimony and interviews with people who witnessed the shooting or whose lives were affected by it.

137 Shots also records the aftermath of the incident and the response by local activists as they demand that law enforcement takes accountability, and we find out what consequences, if any, the officers involved had to face.

The documentary is available to stream on Netflix as of December 15th.

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Written by Ralph Glorioso

World cinema and electronic music enthusiast. Most importantly, a firm believer in slice of life and iyashikei anime.

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