Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win” Looks at Rise, Fall of Brutal Detroit STRESS Police Unit

Jake Neher/WDET

Christopher Gruse (left) and Katy Cockrel (right)

Just a few years removed from the 1967 Rebellion, a new police unit appeared on the streets of Detroit. STRESS was a vicious decoy unit which targeted African American men. Its brutality ultimately led to the deaths of 24 men - 22 of whom were black - over the course of three and a half years. The city pointed to data that suggested the tactics led to reductions in crime. But, to residents, the unit represented a form of violent oppression, and it was disbanded by Mayor Coleman A. Young.

Now, there’s a film about the rise and fall of STRESS in Detroit. Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win makes its Michigan debut Sunday at the Detroit Film Theatre as part of the Freep Film Festival.

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson sits down with executive producer Katy Cockrel and director Christopher Gruse to discuss their motivations for creating the film.

WDET’s Creative Director Sam Beaubien composed the score for the film, along with his bandmates in Will Sessions. He talks about the imaginative way they wrote that music during a single jam-session.

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win makes its Michigan premier 4 p.m. Sunday, April 14 at the Detroit Film Theatre at the DIA as part of the Freep Film Festival. After the screening, Stephen Henderson will host a live panel discussion featuring Katy Cockrel, Gruse, as well as Katy’s mother Sheila Cockrel, former longtime Detroit City Councilmember, CEO of Citizen Detroit, and widow of Ken Cockrel.

Click the audio player above to listen to this conversation.

Image credit: Dare to Struggle Dare to Win

About the Author

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

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