On Thursday, August 19, Joseph “Taheim” Bryan was shot to death in New York City. Bryan is best known as the writer/producer of the film “Equal Standard” starring Ice-T (“Law & Order: SVU”), Tobias Truvillion (ex-Vincent Jones, “One Life to Live”) and Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos, “General Hospital”).
According to the New York Post, Bryan had been sitting behind the wheel of his 2021 Mercedes-Benz sedan around 11:15 p.m. Thursday night in the Long Island City section of Queens when he was shot six times in the arm and torso. Police sources told the publication that a dark-colored Mazda had dropped off the shooter moments before shots were fired into the driver’s side of Bryan’s vehicle. The shooter then returned to the Mazda and the vehicle drove off. Bryan was later taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan where he was pronounced dead. Images from the shooting have been released by the police in the hopes of finding the shooter.
“MFs Killed my friend last night,” Ice-T tweeted on Friday. “I’m not in a good place behind this. Taheim was a GOOD dude making Positive moves. He wrote & we made the film Equal Standard together. He leaves a Wife & Daughter. Dirty MFs followed him home and Murdered him.”
“I’m so sorry man I just found this out I thought it was a joke,” Benard said, responding to Ice-T’s tweet minutes after it was posted on Friday. “He was the nicest sweetest guy you’ll ever meet. I’m so damn pissed right now I can’t even tell you.”
“So saddened to hear my brotha was killed last night. A good solid honorable brotha!!! His character was intact and he didn’t waste his breathe when he spoke,” Truvillion wrote Friday on Instagram. “He was very happy and super intelligent. It’s hard to believe this is the new chapter. We were just getting started. Thank you Taheim for believing me! My words can’t really express this loss right now nor can I really express my love and gratitude for you Taheim. But the game and the world just lost a real solid brotha!”
Filmed in 2019 and released on VOD in May 2020, “Equal Standard” was directed by Brendan Kyle Cochrane from a script by Bryan and followed everyday life in New York City where race, rank, loss and betrayal take center stage when NYPD Detective Chris Jones (played by Truvillion) is shot by one of his own during a dustup in front of a local bodega. The story escalates as tensions rise between cops and the communities they are supposed to protect and serve hit an impasse. For minority groups living in the city, looking for justice in a world where persecution based on skin color is the norm and the ability to fight back, united, and seeking equal opportunity is frowned upon, the battle continues when the outcome is determined with life or death remaining the only options.
Benard portrayed Captain Chavat Issak, Jones’ superior who in the film told his officers, “Keep your eyes open. Not everybody’s in favor of the turnout.” He says this after he’s confronted by the demanding father of the officer who shot Jones.
“‘Equal Standard’ will not only take you through the storm, it will show you that racism is only a mental chain – a chain that can and will be broken in spite of insecurities, beliefs or differences,” read a synopsis of the film which is highlighted by the famous quote by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., wherein he says, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
The film was released in theaters in May and is available for purchase at physical and digital retailers now.