This intimate portrait of Gamal 'G' Turawa, an ex-Metropolitan police officer, explores his memories of confused identity in a major-majority white racist and homophobic police force. In attempts to 'fit in' G found himself racially profiling and finding an empty pride in being the one Black person in the force rolled out to celebrities, politicians and the public; whilst keeping his sexuality secret, posing a fake photograph as his wife and son. Ultimately leading to his breakdown. The Black Cop is the winner of the British Short Film category at the 75th British Academy Film Awards. Cherish Oteka is a documentary filmmaker based in London who is passionate about telling universal stories through the lens of often erased communities.
Now an openly gay man, Gamal’s story is a multi-layered one and sits in the centre of three pivotal moments in our recent history. From the Black communities’ resistance of oppressive policing to the push for equality from the LGBT+ community and the aftermath of the African farming phenomenon.
Whilst Gee admits to horrendous acts in the police force, he reveals that he was also a victim of racialized bullying at work and actually learned to use his race as a bargaining tool to gain the acceptance of his colleagues. As well as allowing them to make race jokes, he slowly bought into the idea of harassing the Black community so he may be further welcomed into the circle of trust and camaraderie with his colleagues.
With the mounting pressure on the British and American government to address the racial profiling involved in policing as well as the
murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests that ensued as a result of it, this timely documentary shows a deeply personal story that in turn reveals a very private world of policing.
Cherish Oteka 'to date, many of the documentaries I’ve made have explored identity, discrimination and institutional bias but never through the lens of someone who sits on all sides of the conversation. There is a lot of overlap with the struggles of Black and queer communities and I enjoy exploring this through my work. Beyond being Black, queer, trans, working class or someone who is read and treated as a woman, I’m interested in exploring the universalities of the human experience.
I first came to know Gamal as Britain’s first openly gay and Black police officer. I reached out to him as I was keen on telling stories that platformed people who sat at the intersection of Blackness and queerness. Our first conversation lasted for a few hours and the more we spoke, the more there was to speak about. At one point he opened up and told me more about his history of harassing the Black community as a police officer and explained that his journey towards coming out as gay involved him living a double life and creating a fake nuclear family so he could fit in with his colleagues.
While I was shocked and initially disappointed that this was his story, I also respected his honesty and appreciated that he had been on a real journey to be who he is today. When I dug deeper, I realised that I also had self-hate to overcome and his experience of wanting to change
parts of himself for the approval of others is a universal one and is a story that must be told.
Gamal’s story shines a light on how someone with a deep sense of self hate could end up in a high powered position and, out of their own self-loathing, can abuse their privileged position with devastating effects on those around him. Gamal is someone who acted out of pain as we all have. In one person and one story we present a villain, victim and hero and begin to understand the potential that we all have in being any one of these if not all three.'
The Black Cop, supported by the BFI Doc Society Fund and commissioned by Guardian Documentaries.
Producer & Director: @cherishoteka
Exec Producers: Shanida Scotland, Lindsay Poulton, @katyaochagavia & Lisa-Marie Russo
Production Manager: @hannahbushbailey
Business Affairs Executive: Christine Howard
Editorial Consultants: @campbellx & Derren Lawford
Director of Photography: @dopdaniel_
Sound Recordist: Ben Adam's
Art Assistant: Phoenix Robinson
Casting Assistant: Ray Sichilima
Stills Editor: Alex Lamden
Colour Grader: Lee Twohey
Sound Designer: @aiai.studios
Online Editor: Simon Cruse