Mannequin Challenge: Black Lives Matter recreate police shootings of unarmed black men

The video has been released in the wake of Donald Trump's shock election victory 

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The Independent US

The latest social media craze has taken on a political edge after filmmakers used the so-called 'Mannequin Challenge' to highlight police violence against black men and women in the US.

A one minute video used the online fad to create freeze-frames of some of the most shocking recent incidents of police brutality, which have triggered intense debate in America about the nature of civil liberties and police professionalism with regard to race and gender.

The footage opens with a scene depicting Philando Castile moments before his death, sitting in the passenger seat of a car and turned away from a white police officer pointing a gun at him. In the background, audio from Mr Castile’s girlfriend’s Facebook Live video of the incident can be heard along with a the pulse heart beat, which ultimately flat lines.

More still snapshots depict the arrests and deaths of Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling and Trayvon Martin with audio from the officers’ cameras.

The footage then sweeps by scenes of US football player Colin Kaepernick down on one a knee during the national anthem and frames of Black Lives Matter protestors with their fists raised as a Malcolm X speech is heard.

The clip was created by filmmakers Simone Shepherd, Kevalena Everett and Todd Anthony, who produced it partly as a teaser for Mr Anthony and Ms Everett's upcoming feature film Black in Blue, which “explores the current racial tensions between the police and those they have sworn to protect" and "bridges the gap between police officers and urban communities across the country,” according to a description on the film’s fundraising page. 

 

 

The Mannequin Challenge-style clip, which has been viewed more than 1 million times on Ms Shepherd's Facebook page, was released on Wednesday in the wake of Donald Trump’s shock victory in the US Presidential elections, which has led to a rise in reports of hate crimes against Muslims, Hispanics, black people, the LGBT community and minorities across the country.

“Black Lives Matter is an issue that’s important to me,” Ms Shepard told Time magazine. “I felt that it was important to make sure that people didn’t forget those moments using this very viral movement that’s happening with the mannequin challenge.”

"No matter who was elected, this video was still going to be important. It's still an issue that needs to be addressed, no matter who's in office,” she told Inside Edition.

Ms Everett told NBC News she hopes the video would send a message to motivate people to inspire change. “This video inspires our community to know that we have not forgotten,” she said. "We need to be the change that we wish to see.”

As of July 2016, 518 people in the United States were killed by police officers, 24 per cent of whom were black – despite the fact that black Americans only account for 13 per cent of the population.

In 2015, black men accounted for 40 per cent of all unarmed people fatally shot by police, making them seven times as likely as unarmed white men to die from police gunfire.

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