Alex Landau, who is African American, was raised by his adoptive white parents to believe that skin color didn’t matter. That all changed at 19, when he was pulled over by the Denver police for making an illegal left turn. In this StoryCorps animation, Traffic Stop, Landau recalls how police officers pulled him out of the car, began to hit him in the face, and threatened to shoot him. It took 45 stitches to close up the lacerations in his face alone. In this short film, which will premiere tonight at storycorps.org/animation, he and his mother, Patsy, remember that night and how it changed them both forever. “For me it was the point of awakening to how the rest of the world is going to look at you,” Landau says. “I was just another black face in the streets.”
Traffic Stop will make its national broadcast premiere on PBS’s documentary series POV alongside Don’t Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie), a film by Mikaela Shwer, on September 21, 2015.