Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is well-versed in the art of making bold, evocative statements about the realities of inequality in the United States.
His latest statement — a new documentary he’s executive produced for Hulu — takes aim at a familiar target: state-sanctioned violence police and corruption. The project is set in Bakersfield, California, and includes another high-profile foe: new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
“Killing County,” set to debut Feb. 3, highlights the 2013 police shooting of Jorge Ramirez Jr. in Bakersfield, which is part of McCarthy’s district. Ramirez was shot and killed by Bakersfield police. Authorities said at one point the shooting was part of a botched police informant operation, but many details remain unclear. The city reportedly later reached a settlement with Ramirez’s family for $400,000, but no official has yet been punished for Ramirez’s death.
The filmmakers investigate what they say is a the raft of police violence in Bakersfield — in particular, gun violence — that’s turned Bakersfield and the surrounding Kern County into one of the nation’s most violent regions over the last decade.
And this isn't the first time someone has noted the violence in McCarthy’s district. In recent years, as McCarthy and fellow Republicans have tried to portray Democrat-led cities as overrun with crime, journalists have pointed out the violence exploding in McCarthy's own backyard.
“Killing County” may be the most vivid reminder yet.