Nice to see HBO doing a hit piece on the despicable Baltimore police department. No one deserves a hit piece more than they do.
It was eye-watering to have to watch these murdering lying fucks scramble around in the aftermath of what was a brutal in-house hit job that had just been carried out and have to listen to these dirty(and likely complicit) pigs drop their cringy lingo as they refer to their fallen comrade who is laying there in a filthy alley face first after having just had a slug thrown through the front of his skull. Forgive my run-on sentence.
It’s that much more infuriating knowing that the orders for this hit job came from one of Suiter’s filth-written fellow boys-in-blue. Fellow piglets that he was set to testify against the very next day. I have to believe that a good chunk of the pigs who first arrived on the scene were completely in-on the hit job and were there to make sure nothing went wrong after the job was done. This surely included the tampering and destruction of evidence.
I hate pigs so motherfucking much.
FULL HBO DOCUMENTARY: https://yesmovies.ag/movie/the-slow-hustle-1630852237/1-1/watching.html
Another doc by “Eban Films” on the incident:
Sean Suiter Was About to Testify Against His Fellow Cops. Then He Wound Up Dead.
The Slow Hustle exists at the intersection of true crime and social justice documentaries, concerned as it is with a fatal mystery wrapped up in an epidemic of police corruption. Debuting on Dec. 7 on HBO, The Wire actress Sonja Sohn’s sophomore directorial effort is, like 2017’s Baltimore Rising, a story about racial unrest and institutional misconduct in Baltimore, all of it once again revolving around dirty cops and a dead Black man. However, in this particular instance, the dynamics at play aren’t quite as clear-cut as that description makes them sound.
At the center of The Slow Hustle is Baltimore Police Department detective Sean Suiter. On Nov. 15, 2017, Suiter was accompanying his rookie partner David Bomenka on an assignment when he allegedly spotted a suspicious figure in an alleyway in the city’s Harlem Park neighborhood. With Bomenka around the corner, Suiter approached this figure, shots rang out, and Bomenka raced to the scene, where—as frantic bodycam footage illustrates—he found Suiter lying dead from a gunshot wound to the head. With no reliable eyewitnesses to the crime, a harried if largely clueless search ensued, most of it predicated on a generic description of a Black man in a dark jacket with a white stripe. The results of this quest were predictably meager, and it wasn’t long before pressure began to mount on Commissioner Kevin Davis—from both the public and the mayor—to find the assailant who killed this heroic cop in the line of duty.
‘The Slow Hustle’ on HBO Max, an Incisive Documentary About the Unsolved
HBO documentary The Slow Hustle shows that actress and director Sonja Sohn may have left Baltimore, but Baltimore has never left her. Her acting breakthrough was playing Det. Kima Greggs on one of the greatest, if not the greatest TV series ever, The Wire, famously set in Charm City (she currently stars in The Chi and Star Trek: Discovery). And now her burgeoning career as a nonfiction filmmaker has brought her back to the city – first with 2017’s Baltimore Rising, about the death of Freddie Gray and the anti-police protests that followed, and now with The Slow Hustle, about the death of Baltimore police detective Sean Suiter, which remains unsolved, more than four years later.
The Gist: Sohn opens on a harrowing moment: audio of a 911 call and police body cam footage frame the shooting death of homicide detective Sean Suiter. We see a man performing CPR on Suiter, who’d been shot in the head, in the line of duty. His partner on that day, Det. David Bomenka, gives a panicked and breathless account of what he saw and heard: two gunshots, a pause, a third gunshot, a man in a black track jacket running away. Suiter was 43, an 18-year veteran of the Baltimore PD. He served in the military. He’d been married to Nicole Suiter for 17 years, and was a grandfather. He was described as a lovable, stand-up guy with a great sense of humor. He was given a “hero’s funeral.” His death shook his family and friends, the police force and the city.
But the how and why were vexing. The evidence was vague and inconclusive. The context – well, the context was revealing. Or maybe it just further muddied the waters. The Baltimore PD was smack in the middle of a corruption scandal in which eight officers were accused of a host of charges, including stealing and dealing drugs, and racketeering. And Suiter’s grand jury testimony was scheduled for the day after his death. Turns out he had connections with the cops on the hot seat, having served on a unit known as the Gun Trace Task Force with some of them. Was there a dark side to Suiter? Did dirty cops order a hit on him? Or did the possibility of testifying against his fellow officers entice him to commit suicide, another theory the physical evidence suggested? Occam’s razor seems to be lost in this situation.
Yet both theories faced many complications. Journalists and politicians say the Baltimore police are indelibly, historically corrupt and incompetent. The forensic gathering at the crime scene was sloppy. The commissioner position was a revolving door. Residents in the neighborhood where the crime was committed complained of cruel lockdowns and violations as the force searched for evidence and a suspect. A 2010 incident involving Suiter and others on the task force resulted in the wrongful incarceration of two men. Weeks, months, years went by without resolution, and very little of these details add up to the man that Suiter’s grieving wife, children and friends knew.
Performance Worth Watching: Baltimore-born journalist and author D. Watkins offers The Slow Hustle invaluable contextual commentary – the type that slices through the story’s many complications and gives it both moral and factual foundations. (He’s a fascinating person who probably deserves his own biographical doc.)
Memorable Dialogue: “This is Baltimore. Don’t be surprised by anything that takes place here.” – Jonathan Jones, Suiter’s longtime partner
Sex and Skin: None.
Our Take: With The Slow Hustle, Sohn combines elements from two of today’s most prevalent documentary subgenres, true crime and social justice, strips them of overt cliches and sensationalism, and pieces together a taut, fascinating narrative. The Suiter case is complex on all fronts, but Sohn shows a seasoned journalist’s instinct for conveying incisive detail – even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff – and incorporating multiple voices without sacrificing clarity. Her use of still crime-scene reenactments is careful and considered; her selection of talking-head interviewees is as precise as its editing.
Through Suiter’s death, Sohn finds a fresh avenue to explore a pair of interlinked tragedies: an unsolved crime and systemic corruption. The film asserts that, in this case, the two go hand in hand. The rotten culture of the Baltimore police – who simply can’t be trusted, Watkins and many others assert – enabled Suiter’s death to remain unsolved, whether or not he died by nefarious means. It’s a frustrating situation in which the more questions are posed, the more bits of evidence are uncovered, the more voices that join the fray, the fuzzier the picture becomes. Sohn stirs up ideas about what breeds and nurtures corruption, about complicity, about why people seek closure when uncertainty is the norm. It’s a tough watch, and despairing at times; Sohn is wise not to offer pat conclusions. But the Suiter family’s ongoing quest for something resembling justice and truth shows enough optimism to render hope a character in this story, too.
Our Call: STREAM IT. The Slow Hustle is one of the best documentaries of the year.
John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work at johnserbaatlarge.com.