I Got a Monster movie review (2023)
Subtitle: A Hard-Hitting Documentary Exposing the Dark Realities of Police Misconduct and Systemic Racism
In 1963, the motto “To protect and to serve” originated in California and quickly became adopted by police precincts throughout the United States.
However, in modern America, this motto is all too often twisted, leading to disturbing consequences. Recent data reveals that over $1.5 billion has been spent to settle claims of police misconduct involving thousands of officers repeatedly accused of wrongdoing.
This article explores the shocking revelations uncovered in the nonfiction book “I Got a Monster: The Rise and Fall of America’s Most Corrupt Police Squad” by Baynard Woods and Brandon Soderberg.
The subsequent documentary delves deep into the story of the Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) through the perspective of dedicated defense attorney Ivan Bates, shedding light on the dark underbelly of Baltimore’s police department.
The Gun Trace Task Force Scandal
In March 2017, seven Baltimore police officers were indicted on corruption charges by the federal government. Astonishingly, their behavior had gone unchecked for over a decade, despite numerous complaints from citizens and defense attorneys.
The Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) became a breeding ground for officers who taught new recruits bad habits and operated without accountability. Shockingly, they exploited the very people they were sworn to protect, engaging in acts of robbery and framing innocent individuals.
The city of Baltimore is still grappling with the repercussions of this scandal, which has left a lasting scar on its communities.
A Glimpse into the Documentary
“I Got a Monster” combines elements of the acclaimed TV series “The Wire” with the gritty realism of “The Untouchables.
” However, it is defense attorney Ivan Bates’ unwavering sincerity that captures the essence of the film. Bates, who represented victims of Sgt.
Wayne Jenkins’ reprehensible tactics, brings to light the mental terror and wrongful imprisonment suffered by innocent Baltimore citizens who were simply going about their daily lives.
Bates passionately questions how the system could fail so catastrophically for such an extended period. His powerful opening court statement sets the tone for the documentary.
Unveiling the Harsh Reality
Through Ivan Bates’ accounts and poignant insights, “I Got a Monster” exposes the harsh realities faced by Black individuals in encounters with law enforcement.
Bates recounts being pulled over and harassed until an officer recognized his badge, reducing him to just another Black man in the eyes of the police.
The documentary also touches on the historical context, drawing parallels between modern police departments and the oppressive role of slave catchers.
These grim truths, highlighted in projects like “The 1619 Project” and “The 13th,” underscore the urgency to address and rectify systemic racism within the police force.
The Cost of Inaction
Reflecting on the consequences of the GTTF’s actions, one cannot help but wonder if individuals like Freddie Gray might still be alive today had officers like Sgt. Wayne Jenkins been held accountable, properly trained, and closely supervised.
The film reveals the alarming extent of latitude and resources that Jenkins and the GTTF had in targeting innocent people.
Director Kevin Casanova Abrams stresses the need for change and justice, emphasizing the potential harm caused by upholding the wrong arm of the law under the guise of “law and order” and a desire for control.
Accountability and the Future
After years of investigative efforts and sting operations, Wayne Jenkins and the other members of the GTTF were sentenced to federal prison. Baltimore city has paid over $15 million in settlements related to their misconduct.
The federal investigation into the Baltimore police department remains ongoing, aiming to address the systemic issues that allowed such
Ultimately, “I Got a Monster” is a haunting testament to the resilience of those who fight for justice in the face of adversity.
It leaves an indelible mark on the spirit and psyche of its audience, urging them to be active participants in the ongoing struggle for a fair and equitable society.
Go back to Home Page : HOME