Segments in this Video

Addressing Chicago Violence (02:45)


Hear homicide statistics and view funeral attendees. CeaseFire members meet at the University of Illinois. Director Tio Hardiman recruits ex-gang members to save lives.

Preventing a Death (03:59)

At the Englewood neighborhood CeaseFire office, Ameena Matthews counsels a young man injured in a fight. His sisters arrive to defend his honor; Matthews intervenes. She takes Dee to his cousin's house to calm him down and diffuse the situation.

Violence Epidemic (03:31)

Matthews commands respect among gang members; her father Jeff Fort was one of Chicago's biggest gang leaders. She discusses her experiences as a leader in the organization. During a CeaseFire march, another homicide occurs.

Maternal Fear (03:12)

Cobe Williams' father inspired him to join a gang; he has credibility with gang members. Toya Batey's sons are in opposing cliques and she worries they will kill each other. She fled their apartment for a safe home.

Grievances Justifying Violence (03:21)

CeaseFire founder Dr. Gary Slutkin sees gang violence as an epidemic. The Violence Interrupters' role is to stop the retaliation cycle. Hardiman explains why young people will choose death over dishonor.

Learned Behavior (03:11)

Hardiman's stepfather taught him that honor justified murder. He was a petty criminal before joining the Violence Interrupters in 1999 and getting a Master's degree. He and Matthews mediate a conflict at a youth transitional home.

Family Intervention (05:13)

Williams brings together Batey and her sons Kenneth and Bud; the boys start arguing. Williams points out they have a bright future. As the argument escalates, he calls Hardiman to help diffuse the situation; Hardiman attempts reconciliation.

Chicago Outreach (04:12)

Matthews enlists help from Englewood youths to pass out CeaseFire fliers. Caprysha Anderson, 18, wants to see her mother, who is using drugs. Matthews invites Caprysha to her daughter's birthday party but she violates her parole and goes to jail.

Raised by Grandmother (04:16)

Williams' mother Alfreda started using drugs when his father was killed. He began dealing and went to jail; his grandmother Mildred bailed him out. Matthews' grandmother Medea took care of her when she was young; Matthews suffered abuse at her mother's house.

Spiritual Salvation (03:34)

Matthews' father introduced her to Islam and it helped her improve her situation. She is raising three children, in addition to her work with Violence Interrupters. She urges a group of young men not to retaliate after their friend's murder.

Victims of Urban Violence (02:30)

View memorials to young people killed in Chicago. Luis was killed trying to sign Michael's altar. One young man says that retaliation murders are pointless.

New Violence Cycle (03:37)

Honor student Darrion Albert’s death is caught on film and attracts national media attention. Matthews helps his mother Anjanette fund the funeral. School closures brought outsiders into the neighborhood; Violence Interrupters strategize how to de-escalate the conflict.

Ineffective Police Intervention (03:43)

Violence Interrupter Eddie Bocanegra does neighborhood outreach. He explains that the police presence does not deter retaliation killings. He stole cars and was attracted to gang members' pride and sense of identity. He urges a young man recovering from gunshot wounds not to seek revenge.

Leaving the Streets (03:59)

U.S. officials call for an end to gang violence. Violence Interrupters say the fight causing Albert's death was preventable and plan to gather everyone involved for mediation. Williams moved his family to a suburb to raise his children in a safe environment.

Robbed of Childhood (03:29)

Anderson resolves not to go to jail again; she had been dealing to support her younger siblings. Anderson wants to become a pediatrician. Matthews takes her on her first carousel ride and to get a manicure, hoping to make a difference.

Causing Suffering (04:16)

Bocanegra teaches a painting class at an after school violence prevention program; children want to stop neighborhood shootings. Art helped Bpcamegra during prison. He revisits the location where he shot a rival gang member.

Fenger Peace Summit (04:08)

CeaseFire gathers students from rival neighborhoods in an attempt to mediate a conflict. Matthews counsels young people on resisting fights. Hardiman says interpersonal conflicts, not gang activity, cause most of the violence.

CeaseFire Model (02:55)

Slutkin speaks to a South African delegation, explaining how the Violence Interrupters prevent deaths. Members remain politically neutral, refrain from judgment, and do not share information with the police. James "China Joe" Lofton uses confrontation to mediate conflicts.

Tough Case (05:17)

Flamo's mother and brother have been arrested as a result of a police tip-off. Williams tries to dissuade Flamo from killing his enemy and convinces him to attend a CeaseFire meeting.

Caught in the Crossfire (05:39)

Hardiman visits Violence Interrupter Joel Sanchez in the hospital; he has been shot while trying to de-escalate a conflict. Jesse "Duke" Smith was mistakenly killed; Matthews appeals to funeral attendees not to retaliate. Funeral director Spencer Leak has seen increased random violence.

Ongoing Civil Rights Struggle (03:48)

Leak discusses the irony of increased child deaths during President Obama's term. Williams visits Flamo, who has calmed down and even intervened in a neighborhood fight. He asks Flamo not to carry marijuana in his car; Flamo wants to improve his life.

Sibling Reunification (03:30)

"Lil' Mikey" Davis has been in prison for armed robbery for three years. He promises his brother and sisters he will change. Williams discusses challenges of finding work after jail.

Drastic Measures (04:14)

Bocanegra counsels a boy afraid for his cousin's safety. Governor Quinn wants to call in the military to stop Chicago violence. CeaseFire members say job creation would be more effective; Slutkin defends the organization's nonviolence work.

Lack of Family Support (03:11)

Young men harass Anderson at a transitional home; she threatens to fight them. Matthews de-escalates the conflict and counsels Anderson; they share the experience of growing up with unstable parents. Matthews recalls the decision to leave her gang.

Asking Forgiveness (04:22)

Lil' Mikey wants to apologize to the people he robbed. The barbershop owner has suffered emotional trauma since the incident, but appreciates his sentiment. Gaining her perspective affects him deeply.

Atonement (03:53)

Bocanegra helps strangers on the anniversary of his victim's death. He visits the grave of Miguel Villalba, who was recently killed. Bocanegra's brothers discuss the financial and emotional impacts of his incarceration on the family.

Taking Initiative (04:41)

Lil' Mikey is proud of his job at a daycare center. Vanessa Villalba refuses to tell people who killed her brother, in an effort to stop the cycle of violence. Her grades are declining and she is getting into fights.

Frustrated Mentor (04:15)

Anderson gets her hair done for the first day of school; Matthew finds out school started weeks ago. She tells Anderson to fight for her future; Anderson walks away. Matthews hopes to prevent Anderson from making the same mistakes she did.

CeaseFire Success (01:57)

Flamo credits Williams for encouraging him to get a job as a security guard, rather than perpetuating the violence cycle. Bocanegra and Matthews continue their intervention work.

Credits: The Interrupters (01:01)

Credits: The Interrupters

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The Interrupters

3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The Interrupters follows three individuals who with bravado, humility, and even humor, work to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once employed. From acclaimed director Steve James and bestselling author Alex Kotlowitz, this is an intimate journey into the stubborn persistence of violence in our cities.

Length: 114 minutes

Item#: BVL131320

Copyright date: ©2012

Closed Captioned

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