Ava DuVernay Unveils LEAP Initiative to Change Narrative Around 'Police Abuse'

DuVernay made an appearance on Monday's episode of the 'Ellen DeGeneres Show' where she announced The Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP).

Ava DuVernay attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Wallis Annenberg Center

Image via Getty/David Crotty/Patrick McMullan

Ava DuVernay attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Wallis Annenberg Center

Ava DuVernay's Array media company is creating a new initiative to combat police brutality

DuVernay made an appearance on Monday's episode of the Ellen DeGeneres Show, where she announced The Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP), whose goal is to focus on telling and narrating the stories around police violence. Per the Hollywood Reporter, It will do so through various mediums—including film, literature, theater, dance, fine art, and music.

"I've been thinking a lot about my own rage. My own emotions," the filmmaker told Ellen. "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."

DuVernay went on to explain that the repetition of these images can create a negative impact if they aren't coupled with context. 

"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," she explained. "We need to change what those stories are and change the way that we tell them."

Through LEAP, the director intends to show the full scope of police brutality and the "murder of black people" at the hands of authority figures. She further elaborated on the project during a conversation with THR, in which she explained that it will help hold law enforcement officers to be accountable for their actions. 

"LEAP is specifically looking at storytelling through the lens of police accountability. 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 said. "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."

"It bothers me that I can rattle off the names of 30, 40 victims of police abuse and killing, but I can't say who did it. We have this kind of social contract, where we don't speak the names of these people," DuVernay continued. "And we kind of agree that they won't be prosecuted, and we won't say their names. I think it's a big national blind spot. And it is a storytelling issue."

DuVernay has long examined racial prejudices in her work, perhaps most notably in 13th, a documentary about the U.S. prison system, which Netflix is currently screening for free


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