Protocol: Bait/Switch


“Protocol: Bait/Switch” is the first installment of an immersive documentary project which aims to unpack the procedural relations between police officers and civilians in twenty-first-century America. Produced with the support of PEN America’s Writing for Justice program, this work underscores the lack of a universal standard to guide interactions between the public and public servants. Hopefully, more defined and understandable rules of engagement will surface from the simple questions that are raised by this project: What is the protocol for dealing with civilians? What is the protocol for dealing with the police?



Photograph of Jonah Mixon-Webster by Aslan Chalom. Video footage obtained through Freedom of Information Act request. Video and poetry by Jonah Mixon-Webster.

Jonah Mixon-Webster is a poet, educator, and interdisciplinary artist from Flint, MI. His debut poetry collection, Stereo(TYPE), received the Sawtooth Poetry Prize (2017), the PEN America/Joyce Osterweil Award (2019), and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry (2019). He is an alumnus of Eastern Michigan University and a Ph.D. candidate at Illinois State University. He serves as the co-leader of the PEN America Detroit Chapter and poetry/digital arts editor for Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora. He is the recipient of the Windham-Campbell Prize for Poetry and fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, Images & Voices of Hope, The Conversation Literary Festival, and the PEN Writing for Justice Program. His poetry and hybrid works are featured in various publications including Callaloo, Pennsound, Best New Poets 2017, and Best American Experimental Writing 2018. More from this author →