Even before filmmaker Kris Koenig arrived in Baton Rouge on Dec. 14, 2012, he knew his project on California gun laws would change. That day, Adam Lanza shot to death 20 elementary school students and six adults in Newtown, Conn.
What Koenig didn’t know was that the man he planned to interview at Bowie Outfitters would miss the appointment because of car trouble. Wanting to get something out of the visit, he asked Bowie general manager David Reynerson what he knew about gun confiscations in New Orleans that took place following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“He said, ‘Why don’t you just talk to the man who wrote the book?’” Koenig said. “And I said, ‘There’s a book?’”
Reynerson reached onto a shelf and handed Koenig “The Great New Orleans Gun Grab.” Less than an hour later, Koenig met co-author Gordon Hutchinson, and the documentary took a new direction.
Hutchinson connected Koenig to New Orleans area people whose guns were seized by police, all of which play a role in “Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire,” a documentary that will be aired locally at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11 at the AMC-16 theatre at O’Neal Lane and I-12 in Baton Rouge.
“Assaulted” examines efforts to strengthen gun-control laws nationally from a pro-Second Amendment perspective. Actor Ice-T narrates the 80-minute film, 10 minutes of which are devoted to the seizure of weapons in the New Orleans area after post-Katrina flooding devastated the area.
Hutchinson, who teaches gun safety and concealed weapons permit classes, researched the New Orleans situation for the 2007 book he wrote with Todd Masson. Local police and other agencies carried out New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass’ directive, announced at a news conference, that no one but police could be armed in the city.
That included Patricia Konie. On Sept. 7, 2005, nine days after Katrina, she was in her Magazine Street home when three California Highway Patrol officers and one Louisiana State Police trooper knocked on the door. A California television news crew was with them. The police asked if she was worried about looters.
“They were looting stores,” Konie said. “They weren’t a problem for houses. They were bothering stores.”
When asked what she would do if looters did come, Konie held out a .32 caliber pistol in a open palm.
“They kicked her door in, ripped the screen door off the hinges, forced her back into the kitchen,” Hutchinson said. “They filmed the whole thing. She’s standing there saying, ‘I don’t want you in my house. Get out of my house. I didn’t give you permission to come in my house.’ And all of a sudden these — and they look like fullbacks, 30-something year old, 240-pound guys — they jump this 90-pound woman and take her to the floor like they’re disarming some sort of armed felon, broke her shoulder in three places, gave her a black eye and cracked one of her teeth. It went viral on the Internet.”
“Assaulted” opened on June 20 in 17 cities for a week of limited theatrical release. The showings require enough audience members to buy tickets online in advance (tugg.com/events/4779) or the showing will be canceled. Koenig said “Assaulted” will later become available to cable and on-demand and on DVD.
Koenig said “Assaulted” has been well-reviewed in the New York Times, Hollywood Reporter, Variety and elsewhere.
“For a conservative subject, we’ve had liberal writers giving us due credit,” he said. “We’ve written a film that actually brings new information to the debates. We pull out some of the rhetoric from both sides. Critically, we’ve been doing very well.”