*TV One has announced the premiere date for “Two Sides,” an hourlong limited four-part true-crime docuseries that looks at officer-involved deaths in the black community, executive produced by Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions and Lemuel Plummer (L. Plummer Media).
Davis also narrates the series, which is set to premiere Monday, January 22 at 10 p.m. ET.
Drilling down on four headline-making fatal police encounters during 2014–2015, the series analyzes and presents multiple points of view of the highly charged cases involving Eric Garner (New York), Ezell Ford (California), John Crawford (Ohio), and Sandra Bland (Texas).
Davis and her husband Tennon hope the show can help expand the dialogue around these incidents and provide an opportunity for real change to occur.
“With Two Sides you’ll hear how the incident transpired and how it affected change, or did not affect change. And, how the families are still being affected,” said Davis and Tennon in a joint statement. “This is a way for us to humanize these victims and not make them just a statistic. We also have to look at the other side of the story – our law enforcement’s point of view. Let’s come together and have a conversation around these issues so that we can come up with real solutions that will lead to positive change.”
In each episode, family and friends also share their accounts of where they were when their loved ones died, along with memories and recollections of their young lives. Law enforcement experts and independent commentators offer expertise and opinions on each incident with explanations of police regulations and procedures, as well as an analysis of the many factors involved in each of the four events.
The series also features commentary from contributors such as activist Rev. Al Sharpton, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and attorney Christopher Darden, as well as representatives from various law enforcement agencies and other pundits.
View more about each of the featured cases below:
ERIC GARNER (43) — STATEN ISLAND, NY
In the summer of 2014, Eric Garner was choked and killed by NYPD officers while being arrested. The 43-year-old was standing outside of a beauty supply store in Staten Island, New York when police tried to arrest him for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. The video of Officer Daniel Pantaleo putting Garner in a chokehold went viral. Although the medical examiner ruled his death a homicide, a grand jury has thus far declined to indict Pantaleo.
EZELL FORD (25) — LOS ANGELES, CA
Ezell Ford died at 25-years-old in August 2014 after being shot three times in the back during a scuffle with Los Angeles Police Department Officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas. Competing accounts of the events surrounding Ford’s death sparked unrest and demonstrations. Almost two years later, in June 2016, the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners concluded that only one of the officers was justified in the shooting. Upon receiving the ruling, the Ford family filed a lawsuit against the LAPD claiming $75 million in damages; the case was eventually settled out of court.
JOHN CRAWFORD (22) — DAYTON, OH
John Crawford III was shot by officers while carrying a BB gun at a Wal-Mart store in Beavercreek, Ohio. Crawford was only 22-years-old at the time of his death in August 2014. A grand jury failed to indict Officer Sean Williams and Sgt. David Darkow, leading to protests by members of the Black Lives Matter movement.
SANDRA BLAND (28) — HEMPSTEAD, TX
In the summer of 2015, Sandra Bland was found hanging in her jail cell after being arrested at a traffic stop three days prior. Her death was ultimately ruled a suicide but Bland’s family disagrees. The dispute over Bland’s cause of death led to unrest in communities across the nation.