The Wire star Michael B. Jordan felt compelled to appear in upcoming indie drama Fruitvale so he could raise awareness about racial profiling.
In the new film, which is based on a true story, Jordan stars as 22-year-old African American Oscar Grant Iii, who was pulled from a train and shot by a white cop in San Francisco, California on 1 January, 2009.
Grant died from his injuries, setting off a number of riots and protests, while the officer, Johannes Mehrle, was sentenced to serve just 18 months in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
The movie, which also stars Olivia Spencer, touches on the controversy, and Jordan admits he couldn't turn down the chance to play the lead role because the story really resonated with him as a member of the black community.
He tells New York Magazine, "You hear about it and you get enraged, you know? It's something that gets you upset. It could've been me. It could've been my brother. It could've been one of my friends. It could've been anybody. It makes you feel a certain type of way, and sometimes you can't always win. So what I tried to do was to voice my opinion through my work and through the film and through Oscar, so that was my homage. That was my way of giving back."
And the actor reveals he had no trouble getting into character - because he too has been the victim of police brutality.
He adds, "I've had my fair share of (encounters with the) police that, you know, I felt was a little excessive or did a little profiling or made assumptions and handled things the wrong way. For sure. A lot of times... it's one of those things where I get my first car, my first car is a Bmw. It's kind of a nice car at that age. I'm 16. I had a cool car, driving places, and I'd get pulled over a lot... Little things like that when you're not able to voice your opinion.
"It could happen to a white guy; it could happen to a Hispanic dude. But it just so happens that it happens a little bit more often to black folks... It still happens for sure. I've had a few times where a cop was a little bit of an a**hole and then recognised me for something, or his partner recognised me for something, and he'd be like, 'Oh, sorry,' and they'd let me go. And that p**ses me off I think even more. Because it's like, 'Really? So if I was just some sort of regular Joe Schmo I'd be going through it right now.'"