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A Detroit minister uses community policing to bust the drug house next to his church

‘Nobody’s coming on a magic carpet … we are the saviours, we are the redeemers, we are the deliverers, we are the answers that we’ve been seeking.’

The Detroit 300 is a 1,500-member community policing group cofounded by the forceful Minister Malik Shabazz with a mission to ‘fight and deter crime’ in the city’s residential areas. Launched in 2010, the initiative has received both praise and criticism for its efforts. These include directly intervening against suspected drugs houses – first with nonviolent confrontations, then with economic sanctions – and serving as an intermediary between authorities and communities that are under-policed or reluctant to approach formal law-enforcement. A companion piece to the US filmmaker Andrew James’s feature documentary Street Fighting Men, the short documentary Community Patrol employs an immersive cinéma vérité style to follow Shabazz during tense confrontations with suspected drug dealers operating near his church. It might be a brave deed, and perhaps even an act of ‘brotherly love’, as Shabazz claims, but can a volunteer, citizen-led group peacefully and successfully deter crime while keeping the community’s trust?

Director: Andrew James

Producers: Sara Archambault, Jolyn Schleiffarth, Katie Tibaldi

5 July 2019

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