Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tales Of The Grim Sleeper

This very disturbing documentary examines the so-called 'Grim Sleeper' murders where possibly hundreds of women were killed in south Los Angeles between 1985 and 2010. The prime suspect, the misogynist Lonnie David Franklin Jr was arrested in 2010 and is expected to face trial in December 2015, although the case has been postponed multiple times.

The disappearances of hundreds of African American women in south LA and the inability of the police to catch the killer is the starting point for this film, with the bizarre, sadistic, horrid and sinister life of Franklin examined in detail. However what really shocked me about this film is the conditions people are subjected to in these communities, particularly the women. Poverty, lack of access to education, intimidation and violence from the police and in the home, punitive measures for relatively small infringements of the law and a grinding cycle of exploitation and struggle characterizes the communities from where the Grim Sleeper took his victims. Drugs and crime are the only respite from a hopeless set of circumstances for many people.

One of the few high points in the film is the documentation of the work of the Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders, a group of activist women who have taken back the power and made a stand against a horrific set of conditions that are imposed upon them by a system that simply disregards the suffering of black women and basically does not care about them.

Update: Lonnie David Frank Jr was sentence to death after being convicted of 10 counts of homicide on 6th June 2016.

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