Local Filmmakers’ Doc Analyzes Detroit’s Struggles

Chris Jackett, C and G News, March 9, 2012

Two local filmmakers have tried to capture the city of Detroit’s perilous problems and how it all got to this point in an 85-minute documentary called “DEFORCE.”

“DEFORCE” means “to take away or hold property from its rightful owner by force,” the filmmakers said. Royal Oak native Daniel Falconer, 28, and West Bloomfield resident Andrew Rodney, 29, shot more than 60 hours of footage to gather what they felt was needed to depict the city’s hardships.


“Our goal is just to be an education engagement resource. The region needs to be engaged a little more,” Rodney said. “It was certainly enriching. My exposure to Detroit was the same as anyone else with the headlines. (Then) I worked at a factory on Eight Mile and I got to know the workers there.”

Some of Rodney’s co-workers were murdered, he said, fueling his quest to find out why something like that would happen.

The documentary is heavy on statistics.

For example, there were more than 1.08 million occupied housing units in Detroit in 1960 and less than 275,000 occupied housing units in 2008, plus more than 100,000 that were abandoned or vacant.

“Blight is not an ugly footnote, but the city’s defining topographical characteristic,” narrator Nelson Jones said in the film.

The film also states that there are 19,500 homeless people in Detroit, Highland Park and Hazel Park. Of the homeless, 30 percent are children and 15-20 percent are mentally ill or substance abusers.


Fewer people and residences have led to lesser property taxes, heavily affecting the city’s finances, as well. Detroit’s median household income was 132 percent of the national average in 1949, but was just 56 percent of it in 2009.


Financial mismanagement has not helped the situation.

According to the filmmakers, former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick spent more than $210,000 on the city credit card during his first 33 months in office, $50,000 of which was for personal expenditures. When a police officer and deputy police chief were fired for whistleblowing and took the city to court for wrongful termination, the city fought the case instead of settling for $1 million. It ended in a $9 million settlement.

“The level of corruption blew my mind. The policies blew my mind,” Falconer said. {snip}


The documentary chronicles key portions of the city’s history, ranging from the automobile boom and former Mayor Coleman Young’s Poletown Plant to the July 1967 riots and subsequent STRESS police task force’s sometimes lawless actions. “DEFORCE” touches on the corruption in Kilpatrick’s tenure as mayor, shows a panoramic view of the differences on the border at Grosse Pointe Park and looks at the well-publicized crime statistics and how they got to that point.


In 2006, an estimated $1.3 billion to $2.5 billion in drugs was trafficked through Detroit, as chronicled in the film. Of the 21,000 murders that have occurred in the city since 1969, many are drug related. In the first six months of 2004, 65 percent of 800 shootings in Detroit were drug related. In the same time span, 100 U.S. soldiers were wounded in Afghanistan.

“The most disturbing statistic that I’m always (repeating) is more than 21,000 people have been murdered since 1969. That’s the population of Birmingham or Sterling Heights,” Rodney said. “We’ve desensitized to the violence in the city. … If there were a shooting at Groves, it would just turn peoples’ worlds upside down and they’d pull their kids out of schools.”


Detroit’s city motto is “We hope for better things; It shall rise from the ashes.”


“Telling people to be more engaged would be lovely, but that’s kind of reaching for a documentary,” Falconer said. “It would be a nice side effect if people come away ticked off about the reality and want to get engaged.”

For more on the film, or to purchase a copy, visit www.deforcemovie.com.


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  • IstvanIN

    Hmm..rise from the ashes?  Like Dresden or Nagasaki?  Does this mean Germans and Japanese are moving to Detroit?  Thought not.  Detroit is going to be more like Pompei, covered in debris.

    • JackKrak

      Agreed, but with the reminder that the good people of Pompei were simply unlucky – they didn’t bring the whole mess on themselves….

      • IstvanIN


  • Sorry, I doubt I’ll buy this movie.  It will show us ruin porn that you can get on the internet for free, then it will blame DirtRot’s problems on either doctrinaire liberalism (if the filmmakers are conservative) or doctrinaire conservatism (if they are liberal) and/or deindustrialization (if they’re any sort of anti-freetrade populist).

    Answer:  None of the above.  It’s one thing:  B-L-A-C-K.

  • A Third World population for America makes for a Third World nation too.

  • Detroit is the textbook example of what happens when black liberals run a city with no one to challenge their cultural and economic Marxism. There are still people alive today, who remember when Detroit was one of the great cities of the world. These black socialists, took less than 50 years to turn a once great city into absolute squalor. Will our nation go the way of Detroit? Obama and many liberal Democrats want to implement the same prescripions for America that were foisted on Detroit. If Obama is elected for a second term, the American future looks bleak indeed.

    • IstvanIN

      They’re not liberals or socialists, they’re just black.  With a primitive (some would say child like) mentality that is incapable of maintaining a modern society.  They just do not have the smarts or impulse control control or maturity.  They are just black.

      Portland is filled with liberals, it isn’t Detroit.  Even San Francisco, for all its wierdness, isn’t Detroit.

      • Set aside economic Marxism (the redistribution of white wealth to blacks in America) for a moment and consider only the cultural Marxism of the white European left, which you seem to think is so wonderful. It is the white European leftist, who embraces the immigration of blacks and east Asians by  the hundreds of thousands every year. Black and east Asian immigration into once all white nations is the method of destroying white Western Civilization without an army. There are now more mosques in London than Christian churches. White Europe is dying, thanks in large part to the suicidal imigration polices implented by the white political left. In many respects the white European leftist is worse from a moral standpoint than their black leftist counterparts, for the white leftist is killing his own people and culture.

  • Detroit_WASP

    As I always say, Detroit is the future of this country. 

    Blacks ran us out of every neighborhood we lived in.   We had to flee to the burbs, then farther out burbs because they are now invading the inner ring suburbs and bringing the crime, viiolence and failing schools with them.   We are running out of places to run.

  • Negroism at its finest.

  • Funny you mentioned Sweden.  The story about Sweden going cashless that was on the Daily Kenn website all weekend was at the top of Drudge last night.  The version Daily Kenn had said that Sweden is suffering from an armed robbery epidemic, and that Italy and Greece are corrupt, so that’s why Sweden needs to go cashless.

    Silly rabbit, mind tricks are for kids.

    Sweden has an armed robbery epidemic because they’re importing Africans.  The reason that Greece and Italy are corrupt and Sweden isn’t is because Sweden is full of Swedes and not Greeks and Italians.  (And I’m saying that as someone with Italian as a major part of his ethnic constitution).  The cash vs cashless issue is a distraction.


    • Barak Obama is the candidate for president of the very liberal Democrat Party of the United States. The blacks who have run Detroit into the ground are  liberal Democrats. To ignore this simple fact seems strange indeed. Unless of course you are a white Democrat. In that case you probably voted for Obama and Kiwame Kilpatrick.

  • joewest666



  • Before they do, two words:

    Greg McNicol

  • Detroit_WASP

    The quickest cure for a white liberal is a good dose of blacks moving into their neighborhood.  Seeing the crime, violence and failing schools is a good wake-up call.

  • The education establishment and the clergy never did like Detroit. 
    Reinhold Niebuhr thought it scandalous than an uneducated person such as
    Henry Ford should be allowed to hold such power over other men. The
    self-aggrandizing financial and academic classes on the East Coast and
    the entertainers in Hollywood lavished praise upon themselves while
    disparaging people in Detroit who built things.

    I think it’s also pure economic jealousy to an extent.  A lot of it is the result of people with useless college degrees jealous that a person who never went to college could make more money and live a better life than they do.

  • Here in the Detroit suburbs, the schools wring their collective hands over the ever dismal test scores of the ‘groids. They wail to the heavens  for black teachers. Seems to me if all it takes to unlock the “magical” properties of the ‘groid mind is dusky hued teachers, then logic says Detroit  should be a utopia. A major research center, curing all disease and poverty. Instead, it’s just another third world s*%t-hole, unfit for humans. For the life of me, I just can’t figure it out. I guess I “beez rayciss”.