A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Systematic corruption in Chicago law enforcement is a major theme, as is racism and police brutality. The importance of community activism is also an important topic.
Positive Role Models
Black and White journalists and activists were involved in the successful investigation and prosecution of Laquan McDonald's murder. Not all police officers are characterized as bad or corrupt, but law enforcement representatives fail to acknowledge police misconduct in this case.
Violence & Scariness
Police officers claim that Laquan McDonald violently assaulted them. Autopsy descriptions, witness accounts, and video footage reveal how he really died. Post-mortem photographs of bullet wounds all over his body are shown. Images of violent protests in Ferguson, Missouri and other locations are shown, and there are conversations about the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Gardner.
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Profanity includes "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Local and national media outlets, including Slate, are featured. A Burger King plays an important role in what happened on the night of the shooting.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Law enforcement notes how Laquan McDonald had PCP in his system at the time he was shot as a way of justifying his murder.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that 16 Shots examines the unlawful 2014 police shooting of Chicago teenager Laquan McDonald, and the events that transpired as a result. Police misconduct, racism, and political corruption are all themes. Footage of the actual shooting and photographs of bullet holes in McDonald's body are shown. There's also footage of violent protests, and conversations about other Black men's deaths at the hands of the police. The word "f--k" is sometimes used, and there are conversations about the victim's use of the drug PCP. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This sobering documentary reveals the details behind the fatal police shooting of a young Black man and how a community rose to challenge police politics, corruption, and racism. Much of the narrative is focused on explaining how the Chicago P.D. -- which has a long history of failing to account for police misconduct (especially as it relates to Black men) -- was forced to answer for what happened to Laquan McDonald. Activists express a sense of achievement about this, but it's tempered by interviews with members of law enforcement, who still argue that the police actions being characterized as racist and corrupt are both justified and necessary.
16 Shots notes the changes that took place after Van Dyke's indictment, including the creation of a task force to initiative police reform, the election of Kim Foxx, whose win over Anita Alvarez makes her the first African-American woman in charge of Cook County State's Attorney's Office, and Rohm Emanuel's refusal to run for a third term as mayor. It also points to Jason Van Dyke's light sentence -- and the backlash from local police -- as examples of how systematic racism and corruption are still being reinforced. Ultimately, there are no happy endings here, but 16 Shots certainly leaves you with a lot to think about.
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