"Cops and Robbers" and Ferguson, MO
Two Years before Ferguson, Mo hit the headlines, Bay Area Law Enforcement Officer and Artist, Jinho “The Piper” Ferreira of Flipsyde wrote “Cops and Robbers,” a 17-character one man show that seems to dramatically mirror the spin of Ferguson.
The play written in 2012 in four days as a way for Ferreira, an artist who has toured internationally with groups such as the Black Eyed Peas, Snoop Lion and others, to vent creatively as he absorbed the realities of law enforcement and community impacted by violence. “Cops and Robbers” is an appeal for people to talk to each other about the violent realities in America and their personal responsibility for change.
The sad and tragic death of Michael Brown and the unrest that ensued could be considered “life imitating art” when one reads the script.
Excerpts from "Cops and Robbers:"
The Lieutenant: “I don’t give a damn if all he did was steal a bag of chips, I want it, I wanna spin it, and I wanna get it to that #$@% journalist immediately she’s killing us out there”!
The Minister (Community Leader): “They say the young brother is a street hustler. Well I know of another street hustler, his name is Jay Z. So they don’t know what this young brother could become….the greatest purveyor of violence as we know it is the government of the United States of America.”
Rob Bob (Conservative Talk Show Host): “God help us, I can hear ‘em now. They’re probably down there right now shouting ‘Oh the brotha man. The brotha man had his hands up, and the police man was shootin’ him in the back’. Gimmie a break!”
The parallels of “Cops and Robbers” to the unfolding news in Ferguson are almost prophetic. Local San Francisco CBS Journalist Chistin Ayers spoke with Ferreira about the play and its significance in the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting and other police involved shootings.
“It’s uncanny seeing Piper’s work play out almost beat by beat in the streets of Ferguson,” said Ami Zins, co-director with her husband Lew Levinson of “ Cops and Robbers.” “It is surreal. Anyone not knowing it was written in 2012 could think, it’s was written about Ferguson.”
From art studios like photographer Jim Dennis’ Emeryville loft, to the Malonga Center for the Arts, to jails to youth conferences and now the Marsh in Berkeley, Piper performs the words of his play he hopes will bring light to the heat of racial tensions as people are moved to take personal responsibility.
“This play has many dimensions. It forces the audience members to look deeply into themselves and question parts of their beliefs they have long ago accepted as truths. I dedicate this work to those in search of truth. I dedicate it to Alaysha Carradine, Chauncey Bailey and Oscar Grant; All who have had their lives stolen, whether their lives were taken by a man in a uniform or not. I dedicate it to all the little girls being forced to sell their bodies right now. I dedicate it to all of us affected by violence. I dedicate it to change, “said Jinho “The Piper” Ferreira.
Ferreira’s “Cops and Robbers” one man show expanded to a book co-written with his wife educator Dr. Dawn Williams Ferreira, “Cops and Robbers: Past, Present and Future,” that includes curriculum to use the book as a tool to teach non-violence. It was released in May along with a CD of the Play and a single “Believe”
Returning from Rio de Janeiro, where he had a cultural exchange meeting with Mayor Eduardo Paes’ ExioRio staff, Ferreira hopes his message of nonviolence via authentic public discourse will catch on wherever there is violence. (Background on Rio Visit: http://www.prlog.org/
For more information about the current show at the Marsh in Berkeley visit:
For interviews at the Marsh Theater, contact “Cops and Robbers” co-director, Ami Zins at 510 517-4298. “Cops and Robbers” is showing at the Marsh in Berkeley, weekends only through September 13, 2014.
"Piper spoke at the Richmond Rotary Club 12:15 yesterday, Friday, August 22 at the Richmond Country Club, 1 Markovich Lane, Richmond, 94806
Last night, August 22nd, included a special post performance discussion with
Lieutenant Marty Neideffer . Lt. Marty Neideffer created the Alameda County Youth and Family Services Bureau along with the Alameda County Deputy Sheriffs’ Activities League. Lt. Neideffer’s focus is in finding creative methods to prevent crime, reduce recidivism, and spur community development.
“Cops and Robbers” Photo Gallery by Ray Chavez, Mercury News
One Man, many perspectives in “Cops and Robbers” by Lou Fancher, Inside Bay Area
“Cops and Robbers” examines conflict by Chad Jones, San Francisco Chronicle
Deputy by Day, Writer by Night by Martha Ross, Contra Costa Times
Piper’s “Thee Strikes” Against Violence: The Release of “Cops and Robbers” Book, CD of the Play and EP