Fruitvale Station's Everyday Horror


Ryan Coogler's directorial debut, Fruitvale Station, dramatizes the last 24 hours in the life of Oscar Grant, who was shot by a cop as he lay face down on an Oakland BART platform. The real-life Grant, played with sympathy and sensitivity by Michael B. Jordan, spent two stints in prison, both drug-related, and the movie depicts his struggle to avoid more jail time while providing for his child.

The film presents Grant as someone who was a victim of state violence long before he was shot by a cop. While police shootings like his may not make it into the news cycle often, what's particularly frightening about the film is that every element of Grant's fatal encounter with police prior to the shooting-from their demands that their authority be respected to their casual and excessive brutality and intolerance toward someone exercising his constitutional rights-happens somewhere in America each day.