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Byline: ANDREW ROBINSON @Andrew_Examiner

HE shone a light into Huddersfield's dark underbelly which revealed a town riven by drugs and gang violence.

Now Huddersfield-born journalist Mobeen Azhar, noted for his hardhitting documentary series Hometown, has turned his attentions on a case which shook America.

In 2016 outside a convenience store in Portland, Oregon, Russell Courtier, a member of white supremacist gang European Kindred, ran over and killed Larnell Bruce, a young black man, with his car.

Shortly afterwards, CCTV footage of the incident went viral and shocked America, not just because of its brutality, but because of the question at its heart: was Larnell Bruce killed because he was black? In search of an answer, Mobeen travelled to Oregon to follow the trial for a new BBC Two two-part series - A Black and White Killing: The Case that Shook America - part of which is being broadcast tonight at 9pm on BBC Two.

The more time he spent in Portland, the clearer it became that the case was part of a much bigger story about race, white supremacy and racial tensions in America today.

A BBC spokesman said: "As he delves deep into the heart of America's far right movement Mobeen comes face to face with neo-Nazis, armed campaigners who say they are simply 'patriots' as well as members and former members of the white supremacist European Kindred prison gang.

"All roads eventually lead into the racially-segregated American prison system, which gave birth to European Kindred.

"In the tradition of large Californian gangs such as Aryan Brotherhood, European Kindred controls the white side of the prison yard.

"At every twist and turn of the trial Mobeen pursues his own investigation also talking to some witnesses to the killing and getting to know the families of the defendant and the victim."

In the meantime, a jury is asked to decide whether Larnell Bruce was killed because he was black, and the state of Oregon - and America as a whole - awaits the verdict.

Mobeen says: "The death of Larnell Bruce was tragic.

"The scars of racial injustice still run deep across America and his story gives us an opportunity to ask some uncomfortable and important questions about race relations in the US.

"I saw first-hand how polarised the discussion of race has become. And spending time behind bars with white supremacist gang members showed me how the prison system could be contributing to a more racially segregated society.

"I hope this series can shed more light into a dark world."

Colin Barr, executive producer with Expectation Factual Productions, added: "A Black and White Killing: The Case that Shook America started as an investigation into the killing of one young man but became a journey into something much darker and more sinister.

"Following Mobeen into the heart of America's violent white supremacist gangs is a troubling, frightening experience but few people could handle it with such fearlessness and journalistic rigour."

|Episode 2 is broadcast on BBC Two tonight at 9pm.

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:1U9OR
Date:Aug 26, 2019
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