The new documentary Hold Your Fire takes place 1973, but the themes surrounding policing are strikingly relevant today. The movie dives into the story of the NYPD’s longest hostage situation and how they used psychology to negotiate de-escalation instead of brute force.

Hip-hop and street art icon Fab 5 Freddy was a producer on the film, and he recently sat for an exclusive with uInterview founder Erik Meers to discuss the premise of the movie and the crime that changed how hostage negotiations are approached by police.

“These young guys at the time were Sunni Muslims which is a more traditional form of Muslim and they had gotten into some beef with the black Muslims – the Elijah Muhammad, Minister Farrakhan, you know, sect of Muslims – and they felt like they would threaten them by robbing a sporting goods store to get guns,” Fab 5 Freddy explained. “The cops show up, and it became a shootout. Hostages in the store, and it becomes a 47-hour hostage situation and a major news story with hundreds of people gathering and clamoring. The beginning of hostage negotiation comes out of this which saves thousands of lives around the world. A New York traffic cop named Harvey Schlossberg had recently gotten his Ph.D. in psychology and some of the brass of the NYPD had the great idea to call him in to get some advice as opposed to running in throwing in some tear gas and shooting up the place. So that begins the hostage negotiation which is worldwide, which we feel and would like to see more police officers utilize these tactics as opposed to rolling guns out and shooting to kill which we’ve seen happen way too many times – if not a knee on someone’s neck.”

Fab 5 Freddy also hopes that the audience will be able to take away themes of the movie to apply to the modern day.

“We just saw something horrendous happen in Buffalo, New York, but clearly the message of holding our fire we feel looms large, and should be instituted in many situations,” he said. “Hopefully we can convince some people to give it some thought and maybe implement some new tactics. Police officers are not trained to be psychologists so when they show up at a situation like that, just recently a few days ago, there was a clip that went viral. The woman, she may have been Latina or white but she was having a mental issue. The parents, relatives had called that the woman had a knife and was being erratic. The police show up with a gun pointed at this woman and she’s screaming at her ‘Put the knife down, put that knife down.’ He then opens fire and shoots the woman in her chest. This woman’s dead and it’s tragic. We have to rethink how our police officers are trained and have units that are able to deescalate a situation or talk someone down.”

Hold Your Fire is now available to view in theaters and everywhere movies are rented.

Read more about: