A Young Black Man Talks to His Mom About the Traffic Stop That Almost Killed Him

In this StoryCorps interview, Alex Landau remembers a 2009 encounter with Denver law enforcement when he was pulled over for making an illegal left turn. Landau, an African American man raised by white adoptive parents, hadn’t experienced issues with police until the night he was beaten to within an inch of his life.

“I figure everything is okay… I’ve already been patted down and plus there’s three officers on the scene,” Landau, who was cooperative, recalls thinking just before he was attacked. According to a lawsuit filed against the officers, who were not criminally charged, Landau was beaten with fists, flashlights, and a radio. He received 45 stitches. (Two of the officers have since been fired for using excessive force in other cases).

When Landau’s mother found him at the police station, she screamed.

Watch Landau and his mother discuss how that night changed their worldview, in the interview below. (Warning: This video contains disturbing images and quotes racist language).