A $150 speeding ticket to a hotshot lawyer is pocket change compared to someone living under the poverty line or paycheck to paycheck. When that ticket isn’t paid, it can tangle up a person’s finances as their life slowly and tragically unravels.
They quit paying rent, miss meals and in some cases resort to selling their own bodies.
And when all that fails, it’s time for jail. Forget about your job, your kids or the life you were trying to live before. You gotta pay that fine.
That may sound absurd to those not struggling to survive, but it’s real and it devastates lives and communities every day.
The short documentary Pulled Over/Pulled Under looks at the life of one mother and activist, whose life and that of her daughters has been pockmarked by tragedy and the generational pains of fines, fees, and forfeitures.
Leaning on three months of extensive reporting by AL.com and Reckon reporters, the documentary also examines how law enforcement and the criminal justice system work in tandem to enforce a vicious system of cruelty that is used to generate police profits in Brookside, a small town just north of Birmingham.
But if the truth be told, it’s happening all across the South.