*Anthony Mackie will step into the shoes of Johnnie Cochran in the upcoming film “Signal Hill,” which follows the budding legal hero’s unrelenting pursuit of justice in the Signal Hill police brutality case in 1981.
Oscar-winning “Ray” director Taylor Hackford will helm the film, which takes place long before Cochran became known worldwide for defending O.J. Simpson in the trial of the century.
Cochran’s reputation as a champion for black victims of police brutality was sparked by his work in the landmark Signal Hill case. He represented Cal State Long Beach football star Ron Settles, who had been picked up for speeding in Signal Hill, in Los Angeles County. Shortly after his arrest, he was found hanged in his cell. The police called it a suicide, but an autopsy — performed after Cochran persuaded Settles’ family to exhume the body — showed that he had been choked to death. The family was awarded $760,000 in a civil suit, the police chief resigned, and reforms were mandated.
David McMillan wrote the screenplay, and producers include The Firm, along with Mackie, Hackford, Jason Spire, Robbie Brenner, Kevin McKeon and Jeff Kwatinetz.
McMillan is also the executive producer and is hoping to start production in January.