Richard Cohen Films - Deadly Force
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"A gripping and persuasive investigation...really a troubling, thoughtful inquiry into the wider subject of police brutality and the whole relationship between society and its custodians of order. ...Chilling, real-life replicas of the political thriller "Z" ."
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Deadly Force


As relevant today as some forty-years ago
On the morning of August 4, 1977 a veteran police Sgt. stopped his car to investigate Ron Burkholder, a naked unarmed man on a Los Angeles street corner. Within three minutes Burkholder lay dead shot six times.


"Rivals any detective drama you've ever seen. 
Remarkably done."


"A devastating documentary"  Linda Gross,

"Unsettling of the most sensational shootings in
recent Los Angeles history...tough, probing questions."
   Joel Sappell, investigative reporter,

"Anatomy of a police shooting..."
   TV GUIDE Close Up

"Extremely thought provoking"   CHOICE

"Shocking impact"   Zena Jones,
   San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Disturbing... Photographed in black and white and edited for maximum impact, this will be an emotional experience for viewers. Recommended to motivate discussion and thoughtful inquiry"
    LANDERS FILM REVIEWS   
Motorcycle police

    The use of 'deadly force' is a recurring and divisive issue in communities across the nation. This powerful and provocative documentary examines police accountability for civilian fatalities by zeroing in on a case that rocked city hall, stirred national press and resulted in the re-writing of gun policy for LAPD officers.

      Deadly Force follows the Burkholder killing through a coroner's inquest and investigation by the district attorney's office. It provides telling insights into the conflicting views of police officials who defend the use of deadly force in dangerous situations and Burkholder's friends and relatives who charge authorities with engineering a cover-up.

Examining the death scene  
"A major contribution to the discussion and debate in this highly explosive area...powerful."
   Lee Weinberg, Professor of Legal Studies &
   Administration of Justice, University of Pittsburgh

"The spirit of public disquiet about police brutality..."
     National Institute of Justice, Selective Notification of Information  
    read more... (letter and actual description)
"Adam-12 was never like this" 
     Howard Rosenberg, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
WNET Thriteen Ad from THE NEW YORK TIMES, April 4, 1980
    View Ad

Red Victorian Moviehouse, San Francisco, April 1, 1984
    View Flyer

Special Gold Jury Award
- Houston International Film Festival,
Special Jury Award Athens International Film and Video Festival
Cash Award
Sinking Creek Film Celebration
1980 Deadly Force (60 mins., 16mm, bw)
A film by Richard Cohen
Director, Producer, Editor: Richard Cohen
Cinematography: Baird Bryant, Chris Beaver
Sound Recording: Don Sanders
Investigative Research: Susan Stern
Additional Camera: Jerome Hiler, Richard Wedler, William Zarchy, Marie Consiglio,
Ed Barger, Devorah Cutler, Josh Morton, Andy Aaron, Harris Cohen,
Additional Sound: Carol Yasunaga, Brett Wheatly, Hal Bowers, Juri Raciem,
Linda Fredrickson, Jonathan Hanken
Camera Assistants: Amy Berkowitz, Richard Davis, Cathy Zheutlin, Estes Gardner
Production Assistants: Rick Adler, Deirdre Carrigan, Susan Desaritz, Jeff Philips, John Joy
Assistant Editors: Kristine Dreuilhe, Susan Desaritz, John Joy,
Devorah Cutler, Rob Epstein, Susan Slanhoff
Sound Editors: David Davis, Nina Wax
Negative Cutter: Debra Seligman
Production Company: Hound Dog Films, in association with The Television Laboratory at WNET/13.
Production grants received from The Independent Documentary Fund which is supported by the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, The American Film Institute in association with the National Endowment for the Arts and from KCET Channel 28 Los Angeles.
copyright 1980 Hound Dog Films Limited Partnership   Richard B. Cohen.
 Broadcast on PBS's Non Fiction Television. 
Distributed by:
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