It’s not always the case that something positive comes out of tragedy.
But Alex Landau, a local African-American activist who was the victim of a brutal beating by Denver Police officers in 2009 after being pulled over for a traffic violation, won an Emmy award this week for an animated short he produced with the organization StoryCorps.
The video, in which Landau narrates his horrific police encounter, had already been widely shared online, with over 340,000 views on YouTube, when its Emmy nomination was announced on July 28 for the 37th annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards.
(Westword's Joel Warner also wrote a cover story for our paper about Landau’s police encounter; titled "Black and Blue," it was the first major account of the incident.)
At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Landau shared his anticipation of the awards ceremony on Facebook:
Tonight's the night, the animated short my Mom and I put together with StoryCorps animation team has been nominated for an Emmy award.
The awards ceremony is this evening in Manhattan, and we will see what happens and keep y'all posted!!!
At 6:35, he returned to Facebook with a simple message, accompanied with the photo taken with his mother at the Lincoln Center in New York City: "We won!!!"
For those who haven’t seen Landau’s and StoryCorp’s animated short, you can watch it below:
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In May 2011, Denver City Council paid out nearly $800,000 to settle Landau's lawsuit against the city, one of the largest city settlements in history concerning police brutality.
Landau now returns to Denver with one of television’s most coveted awards, evidence that his work to raise awareness about police brutality and racial justice is having an impact.