The uneven fight between a militarized police force
and citizens minding their own business
In 2015 artist Blake Byers took a break from working in his studio in Glendale, CA. He walked into a convenient store to buy a pack of cigarettes. Little did he know the price he'd pay.
Upon exiting the store, he gave a smoke to a homeless man and then lit one up himself. An unmarked car approached Blake. The driver inside rolled down the window and beckoned him over. Dressed in civilian clothes and with his hand resting on a rifle, the driver of the vehicle informed Blake that it was illegal to smoke in the city of Glendale. Intimidated by the man, Blake immediately put out his cigarette, but it was already too late. The man exited the car and slammed Blake to the ground.
In a matter of seconds police were rushing to the scene. Blake called for their help, but they weren't coming to save him. Instead they were coming to help arrest him.
Blake would later find out that his paint covered clothes, combined with his kindness in giving a homeless man a cigarette, had gotten him profiled as a perpetrator of a drug related crime. When the overzealous undercover officer failed to find any illegal substances on Blake, instead of admitting his fault he arrested Blake on the charge of resisting arrest. The question remains, how can one be arrested for resisting arrest when there was no reason to be arrested in the first place?
This documentary centers around the first hand account of Blake Byers, as well as interviews with expert witnesses and police whistleblowers. In it we follow the ongoing court case as Blake spends over two years of his life trying to defend his innocence in a broken legal system that wastes tax payers dollars.
Blake Byer's Brought a Cigarette to a Gun Fight is currently in production. Details to come.