Sunday, June 20, 2010

"treh-MAY" - Episode #7: "Smoke My Peace Pipe"

(All photos/general information can be found @ or Wikipedia.)

After Toni (Melissa Leo) offered new evidence to prove that OPP did indeed have David "Daymo" Brooks in custody during the storm, Judge Gatling (Tim Reid) orders the Department of Corrections to produce him within 72 hours. Judge Gatling gave Daymo's mother and his sister LaDonna (Khandi Alexander) a long overdue apology on behalf of both the state's screw-up and the ADA attorney's excuse of blaming this egregious error solely on the chaos of post-Katrina.

Toni and LaDonna's search for Daymo began almost immediately after the judge's ruling. They have no luck in finding him in the OPP prisoners' files. Toni reluctantly asks for the list of inmates who died while in custody. No luck in finding Daymo's name listed in there either, but LaDonna immediately recognizes her cousin's name on the list, who is very much alive. Toni suggests that Daymo may have used their cousin's name because he's doesn't have a police record and that she and LaDonna must go to the morgue immediately.

The "morgue" consists of long, climate-controlled trucks filled with dead bodies. Toni and LaDonna slowly enter one of the trucks and they stop in front of one of the many body bags lying around. When the bag is unzipped, it is indeed Daymo. His face is somewhat deformed and twisted with purplish bruises now covering his grey, lifeless form. This moment left me numb and I continued to pause the moment and just stare at his face.

Overcome with grief, LaDonna rushes out of the truck. Toni not only provides the officer with his true identity but also shares her outrage on how they've kept this person for five months under the wrong name. Immediately after, it cuts back to an emotional LaDonna just staring at all of the makeshift morgues around her--just lines of huge trucks filled with countless bodies since Katrina. You then ask yourself, "Like Daymo, how many others out there are lost in the system?"

Toni also learns from the officer that the cause of Daymo's death was a blow to the side of his head, possibly caused from a fall--suicide? REALLY? I ain't buying it!! And neither does Toni or LaDonna. However, LaDonna decides to keep the news of Daymo's death to herself until after Carnival, especially since her mother isn't in the best of health.

Albert (Clarke Peters) still continues the fight to reopen the projects so that people can come home, especially in time for Mardi Gras. He breaks into the housing complex and reopens the houses for his people. What's brilliant is that not only does he call the police, he also makes sure to call a TV crew at the same time to document the moment and hopefully put some pressure on the government to reopen the houses. "5,000 housing units shut down when the people want to come back," says Albert to reporters. They're not leaving!!! And when the "squatters" in the complex put out banners to also state that they are indeed home, Albert feels like a real stance against the Federal government, who shut down the houses, has been made.

Days into the protest, Albert is greeted by Sergeant Thompson, from the "Community Relations Division," to try and talk Albert into vacating before he's arrested for trespassing. Sergeant Thompson also throws out a rather "odd" statement": that the voters have not expressed a desire to open up the housing projects. Doesn't he mean the GOVERNMENT, aka the POLITICIANS who have most of the OPP in their back pockets? They're the ones who choose to keep the houses shut down. "Thank you for your visit, Sergeant...and come again!!" Albert is home, too!

The next day, the police arrive without fail and decide to arrest the squatters and Albert for criminal trespassing. He leaves the door open so that the officers will enter without the use of force. But they stormed in there anyway, cursing at him and demanding that he drop to his knees. Albert refuses to bow down before any man. One of the officers draws the blinds (clearly to avoid the cameras) and the other hits him with his nightstick. Albert hits back in self defense and they all jump on him, beating him for "resisting arrest." ALL OFF CAMERA!!

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