Milwaukee filmmaker shines light on 'Kia Boys' in new documentary on YouTube
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A new documentary shines a light on some of the people responsible for reckless driving in Milwaukee.
The "Kia Boys Documentary (A Story of Teenage Car Theft)" is a 16-minute video on YouTube created by Tommy G.
Tommy G identifies himself as a filmmaker who puts himself in sometimes risky or dangerous situations to get a better perspective of parts of society we don't normally get to see up close.
He told CBS 58 that was his intention when he set out to speak with a group of teenagers who call themselves the "Kia Boys."
"When I learned that this was happening, it was blowing my mind, and so, I, for awhile, have been looking for connections," Tommy G said.
Tommy G said he connected with a man on social media who could get him in contact with someone involved in the group.
"He put me on FaceTime with the 'Kia Boy,' and I said, 'Hey, does Tuesday at 3 work for you?' And we met on the block and we made it happen," Tommy G said.
For about an hour on a Tuesday afternoon, Tommy G got an inside look at how the "Kia Boys" operate.
"A lot of these kids are more reckless than I could have imagined," Tommy G said.
The Milwaukee YouTuber documented teenagers recklessly driving down the street, while shedding new light on the people who take responsibility for hundreds of stolen cars.
"This kid has been doing this for three years. This is his lifestyle. This is what's normal to him. You get done after school, you go play soccer. He's going out to get a car and that's just how things are," Tommy G said.
One of the boys in the video told Tommy G that his group is made up of kids as young as 11 and 12-years-old, some of them learning to drive behind the wheel of a stolen car.
"They might hold onto a car for two or three hours, get their next one, move," Tommy G said.
One of the boys showed Tommy G how he would steal a car using a flathead screwdriver and a charging cord. Kia and Hyundai cars are main targets.
"It was surprising how casual it was for them, and having someone sit in the front seat of my car and show me this is how I would have done it if I could have, it was like wow it's surprisingly easy," Tommy G said.
Tommy G called this a dangerous group of boys that is terrorizing the city.
"It's like, wow. I was hoping I could see a little bit more of a human side, and I think we can find it, but I was surprised at how much of a lack of regard they did have for people," Tommy G said.
At the same time, Tommy G said he believes there's still hope of a better life for these boys.
"They need something to invest their energy into, otherwise this is what they're going to do for fun," Tommy G said.
Tommy G said high energy activities like, Jiu Jitsu, boxing and wrestling could be ways for teenagers to divert their reckless behavior into something productive.
"The current path their on, they're terrorizing the city and they're making it a very scary place to live," Tommy G said. "If we make them better citizens or they make themselves better citizens, we’re all better off. So, how can we come together as a city and do that?"
The boys told Tommy they aren't afraid of the police or getting caught. One man referred to the punishment as a slap on the wrist.
Tommy G said his hope is for the documentary to reach high ranking officials in Milwaukee.
"What's the carrot that we can direct them towards. It's going to be positive," Tommy G Said. "If they keep doing it, what's the punishment? Because obviously you can't tolerate a city where kids are doing this. You can't."
Mayor Cavalier Johnson told CBS 58 that he's seen bits and pieces of the documentary.
"It was wild. It was sad," Johnson said. "The actions that are taken, the disregard for, you know, life, like the stuff that we see on the streets that we’re working to curb daily, quite frankly, is stupid."
Johnson said it takes a city, community and home-based approach to keep young people safe at home and off the streets.
"There's responsibility all around," Johnson said.
The Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) did not agree to be interviewed about their reaction to the documentary.
"The Milwaukee Police Department is aware of a disturbing social media video involving the 'Kia Boys.' Our Fusion Division is reviewing the content of the video for a possible criminal investigation," MPD said in a statement.
The full documentary can be watched here.