A Movie Envisions the Trial that Eric Garner Never Had
Roee Messinger’s American Trial: The Eric Garner Story does the radical work of imagining a trial and envisages a future that was denied to Eric Garner and his family, thanks to the extremely racist and flawed legal system in the United States. Messinger’s film is fictional but mostly unscripted; he does not use any actors except Anthony Altieri, who plays Pantaleo and speaks only from Pantaleo’s public statements and from information gathered from his attorney. After having researched the case thoroughly, real-life lawyers play the defenders, prosecutors, and the judge, and litigate as if they were fighting a “real” case in a “real” court. The experts and the witnesses called to testify in the mock trial are all people who would have been summoned had there been a real one. Related news clippings and opinions from activists and legal experts also feature in the narrative.