New Documentary Addresses Crisis of Flint, Michigan

“Flint Town,” an eight-part documentary series, premiered on the streaming service Netflix on March 2. The series was filmed over two years and showcases the struggles the city’s citizens have been enduring as a result of its water crisis.

The town of Flint, Mich. has been in a water crisis since 2015. Despite the explosion of media attention the issue received, the city continues to have lead-contaminated water in its pipes.

This issue has put a strain on the already-impoverished area.  Flint, albeit a decrease in violent crime over the past 10 years, is often referred to as one of America’s most dangerous cities. Citizens are beginning to lose hope of their society trying to find justice for them.

“Flint Town” exposes the negative relationship that Flint’s citizens have with its police force. In the opening minutes of the series, a man is shown who recently received 16 stitches as a result of an armed robbery. The police arrived 27 hours after the incident occurred. Having police respond over three to four hours after an incident arises is a common occurrence in Flint.

The town has limited resources as the police respond to endless calls of crime reports such as shootings and homicides. “Flint Town” revealed that as a result of budget cuts, the number of officers serving Flint’s 100,000 citizens has been reduced from 300 to only 98. On a maximally populated shift, only five police cars will parole the whole city. The severity of the area makes some parents worried for their children’s safety as they grow up.

Flint wasn’t always this way. The town used to be the home of a wealthy middle class and the American dream. General Motors gained its success there. But limited opportunity has turned the town upside down. In 2017, Flint was deemed the poorest city in America. It was also on FBI’s list of the top 10 most dangerous cities in the country. The show revolves around the conflict that one of Flint’s officers recognized: “How can the citizens trust the police to protect them when they can’t even trust their government to provide clean water?”

“Flint Town” shadows the lives of the police force and what they see. Unfortunately the police have become desensitized to death and crime since they see it constantly every day for work.

An overworked and understaffed police force cannot do an efficient job for a city. There is just no way. The documentary showed a citizen getting carded for loosely matching a description of a suspect while he was out walking. Flint’s citizens must always be on the lookout for being misidentified by the police.

This show should be advertised way more. This is something that people must see. Society should not let a group of individuals be exposed to a dangerous environment just because it has a large population of impoverished people. Shocking, emotion filled and thought provoking,

“Flint Town” is a powerful viewing experience. Hopefully this documentary sparks discontent within its viewers so more people will fight for the citizens of disregarded cities such as Flint.

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