The film begins in 2114 Lots Ave, Brooklyn, New York City on 4th June 1993 at 4 am. Two young boys are arguing and one pulls out a gun and shoots the other boy dead. Diquan Mitchell hears the shot. He knows both boys, realises they were fighting over a girl but he tells the boy to go, taking the gun and hiding it in his bedroom.
Diquan's girlfriend is Latisha Jordan, and she is heavily pregnant with their child. Diquan gets a call from her. She has been arrested after being caught on video selling crack to an undercover cop. Diquan goes to the Police station and is arguing with the desk sergeant when Detective Matthew McRae makes his first appearance. McRae offers to check on the situation regarding Latisha. When he returns he tells Diquan that Latisha has already been processed and sent down town.
We discover that McRae is part of the section dealing with illegal Firearms.
Her bail is set at $2500, which is more than Diquan can find. McRae is at the court and he makes Diquan a proposition, promising to help Latisha if Diquan helps him.
You can pull your dick, man is Diquan's initial response but, later, Diquan contacts McRae and offers him a local firearms dealer called Mikey who sells 9mm guns from th back of his store. They manage to get Mikey on film selling the guns and McRae takes the evidence to the DA.
Despite his best attempts, Corman refuses to accept Mikey as a replacement prosecution for Latisha. Mikey - even if caught selling 10 guns illegally - would only be a Class C felony worth 2 years hard time compared to selling crack which is a Class A felony with a maximum of 8 years hard time.
McRae tells Diquan that he needs more. Diquan is upset and threatens McRae's life to which he responds...
McRae: Talk to me like that again and I'll see your girlfriend stays in prison so long her parole officer hasn't been born yet.
Diquan teams up with a friend called Bamboo, who is selling firearms to local kids. He discovers that Bamboo has a contact, Ben, who sells guns from the back of his car. Bamboo meets the man every Thursday in the same place and will pay up to $1500 for a mach10.
He sees McRae, who notices his expensive new clothes but Diquan holds McRae in contempt as he describes McRae's success in preventing illegal sales of firearms.
Diquan: Table scraps. Bust here, a bust there. Crumbs, man.
Through working with Bamboo, Diquan earns enough to post Latisha's bail of $2500 but she is still facing up to 8 years imprisonment if found guilty. They go to seek Legal Aid and are advised that Latisha should plead guilty and would then see her sentence reduced to 18 months, However, Diquan does not want his child born in prison and needs an alternative.
Diquan approaches McRae once more and offers him Ben. Even so, McRae tells him that the chances of getting all the charges dropped on Latisha are virtually non-existence. McRae and Diquan go for a ride so Diquan can point out the meeting place between Ben and Bamboo. While driving, Diquan tells McRae about his plans to get out of the ghetto, take Latisha and his child some place better and open a shoe shop. McRae tells him that he is a smart kid and asks why he isn't at school. Then, McRae tells Diquan to duck. They are passing a group of youths who would recognise both of them and realise Diquan is a snitch.
McRae sits surveillance outside Ben de Lorenzo's family home (call-sign Squad 9512) and arrest him when he has packages of firearms delivered. Unfortunately, Ben has a Federal Firearms Licence which gives him the right to sell guns. He gives McRae Bamboo's name.
Bamboo is on the run, he enters a store and demands money from the register. On hearing a noise behind, he turns and shoots but it is a young girl - maybe 6 years old. Bamboo runs but is caught, but not on the murder charge as no one will identify him. While in a holding cell, he overhears McRae and Diquan arguing and believes that it is Diquan who snitched on him.
When released, Bamboo goes after Diquan, intending to kill him but Diquan is caught and arrested.
Diquan is seated opposite McRae. He asks McRae is giving him a murder would be sufficient to gain Latisha's release. He forces McRae to contact DA Corman, who verifies that he would be willing to release Latisha is he could exchange her for a murderer. Diquan offers himself to McRae as that murderer. McRae does not believe him, even when Diquan gives a date (June 10th), time (4 am), place (2114 Lots Ave), victim's name (Pharaoh Dodson)and tells him where to find the murder weapon - hidden in his room.
Diquan: You know nothing about what I gotta live with. My chances. Choices I gotta make.
McRae sits in the court while Diquan pleads guilty, knowing that Diquan is innocent but unable to do anything to help. Diquan is remanded into custody for the murder of Pharaoh Dodson, sentencing to take place on 20th September.