A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Protecting the civil rights of marginalized people. Teens can consider careers such as criminal justice professor, activist, and police officer.
Positive Role Models
Jelani Cobb is a historian of Black history and the Dean of Columbia University's School of Journalism; LeRonne L. Armstrong, chief of police in Oakland, California, has two decades of experience in law enforcement; and Delores Jones-Brown, a professor of criminal justice and author, is founding director of the John Jay College Center on Race, Crime and Justice in New York City.
BIPOC and White kids, teens, and young and older adults, including police officers, social activists, and lawyers. Representations include Ben Crump, a Black civil rights attorney who represented the family involving the murder case of African American George Floyd; Sally Hadden, a White historian who is an expert on the topic of the slave patrols that existed in the United States; and Eric Jones, a White former police chief from Stockton, California, who was once deployed to Black communities where law enforcement teams would stop people for jaywalking and loitering.
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Violence & Scariness
Deceased person in a casket, people killed by lynchings, the murder of a young Black man while he was sleeping, firearms, police forcing BIPOC individuals to the ground with their hands behind their backs, physical assault by police officers, being shot by police officer and becoming paralyzed, a Black man's scarred back from beatings. White people considered African Americans as property. White people falsely accusing Black people of a particular behavior, allegations of verbal assault, people being handcuffed, arrested, and imprisoned. Black people being considered less than human, slavery, mob violence of citizens, stop and frisk patterns used by police against Blacks, shootings, racial profiling, systemic racism, racial violence, riots, police brutality, attack dogs, attacks with water from fire hoses, and a fractured skull from a police beating.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Relationship between individuals who are parents, such as Andre Locke and Karen Wells, who had a son named Amir Locke.
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Frequent use of swear words includes "a--hole," "bulls--t," "hell," "f--king,""motherf----r," and "s--t." Slurs include the "N" word, "pigs" (as pejorative term for police), and the name "Karen" for a White woman who is perceived as entitled and demanding in behavior toward other people.
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Products & Purchases
Apparel with logos and messages, smartphones, social media platforms, and body cam units.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cigars, cigarettes, and contraband.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sound of the Police is a documentary that examines the history of allegations about law enforcement brutality against African Americans and people of color. References and images include a body in a casket, lynchings, the murder of a Black man while he was sleeping, firearms, physical assault by police officers, African Americans called property by White people, allegations of verbal assault, people being handcuffed, arrested, and imprisoned, slavery, mob violence, stop and frisk patterns by police against Blacks, racial profiling, systemic racism, riots, attack dogs, cigars, cigarettes, and contraband. Language includes frequent use of swear words such as "a--hole," "bulls--t," "hell," "f--king," "motherf----r," and "s--t." Slurs include the "N" word, "pigs" (as a pejorative term for police officers), and the name "Karen" for a White woman who is perceived as someone with entitled and demanding behavior. Helping protect the civil rights of marginalized people is the documentary's main theme. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Black filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy) exhibits a well-researched look at the often tumultuous relationship between African Americans and the U.S. police force. The commentary in Sound of the Police by experts such as activists, historians, and professors, as well as personal anecdotes, continues to shed a major spotlight on this timely topic.
LeRonne Armstrong, the Black chief of police in Oakland, California, recalls his own story as a teen. At age 13 and in a car driven by his uncle while en route to his grandfather's home to celebrate Christmas, they were "pulled over for what appeared to us for no reason." Released without any citation, Armstrong believes they were stopped "because of how we look." But according to Black historian Jelani Cobb, "it's not simply a question of the prejudices of police, it's an issue of the prejudices of society that the police function in."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
Documentaries About Black History
Black History on the Screen: Activism, Civics & Social Justice
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