“It’s a fuel at the same time. It makes me want to continue to do this work.”
These were the words of Denver resident Alex Landau who was at the Lincoln Center in New York City to attend an Emmy Award Ceremony on Wednesday evening where a video featuring himself and his mother, Patsy Hathaway was awarded an Emmy. The experience he said “fueled” him to continue working for justice.
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded directors of the production Gina Kamentsky and Julie Zammarchi for their work producing the animated video short titled Traffic Stop. In the video Landau and his mother Patsy Hathaway are speaking to each other in a StoryCorp depiction about the night Landau survived a near fatal assault in 2009 by officers of the Denver Police Department. The award was presented to Kementsky and Zammarchi in the category of News and Documentary.
Since the night of the beating, Landau has publicly denounced the officers involved, Officers Ricky Nixon and Tiffany Middleton, and Corporal Randy Murr and has told his story in news accounts, forums, and to private groups. He worked to have the officers charged, and when that effort proved unsuccessful he initiated a civil suit where he won a $795,000 settlement.
But Landau doesn’t see the settlement as a win. He wants change. “We’re not going to have police forces around the country treat us any differently until we call these things for what they are.”
He has since worked full-time for police accountability and to educate Denver about the power and position of the District Attorney’s Office that failed to charge the officers who injured him.
Although some of the injuries have healed, the stitches will always remind him of the change that he seeks. He said that the Emmy award ceremony was a form of re-traumatizing him but was also a part of his healing as he continues to elevate his story, “The way the system’s set up, it forces you to be re-traumatized. But for me that was also a method I used for therapy because there was just so much around it. I wanted to talk about it. I wanted justice. I wanted the individuals who assaulted me to be held accountable.”
Landau is now a member of the Denver Justice Project and works for the Colorado Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform.