​The film looks back over the past 40 years of relationships between the Pasadena Police Department and the Black community. From activist Michael Zinzun to advocates like Michael Williams, Andre Henry, and Loren Esprit, Pasadena has always had activists in the community. Pasadena Police have killed and abused dozens of Black men during that span with little to no consequences. Thorns on the Rose will bring the viewer up to date to their most recent homicide 2020. 

Police brutality against Black men in the United States has been on the rise during the past two decades, reverting to the 1950s and 60s when Black abuse was a frequent occurrence. Generations of Black men of that era viewed Law Enforcement as contemporary “slave patrols.” Pasadena, Ca, is no different. The Tournament of Roses and America’s Stadium, the Rose Bowl stand as a camouflaged backdrop to a growing community problem. The death of Black men at the hands of the Pasadena Police Department has planted seeds that have germinated and blossomed into arrangements of mistrust and fear.