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Riotsville - American police have always been militarized

Sierra Pettengill’s new film Riotsville, USA, which premiered at Sundance last weekend, enriches our understanding of police militarism in the United States. The documentary is made up entirely of archival footage, supplemented by onscreen text and narration written by Tobi Haslett and voiced by Charlene Modeste. Riotsville centers on two fake towns constructed in 1967 on military bases in Virginia and Georgia, the purpose of which was to train military and police in riot response tactics and technologies. As told by the film, these sites were both material and symbolic indicators of the intensifying militarization of American policing in response to black rebellion in the 1960s.

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