The film opens with a commentary by Detective Graham Waters. He is a passenger in the car driven by his partner Ria and they have been involved in an accident with an Asian driver with whom Ria exchanges racially charged insults. Waters was on his way to a crime scene and in arriving gets out of the car to investigate the discovery of a "dead kid".
Whilst purchasing a gun Farhad, a Persisn shop owner, argues with his daughter Dorri about the bullets they should buy. The owner of the gun store starts to lose patience and refers to them in a derogatory way, calling them "Osama". Farhad clarifies that he is an American citizen but the store owner continues to exchange racially stereotypical insults and instructs the security guard to escort him from the premises. Dorri demands that the store owner either gives her the gun or refunds her money. He gives the gun to Dorri but asks for "the ones in the red box". He questions her but she does not answer and insists on purchasing that particular box.
in another part of town two black men, Anthony and Peter, argue over the racial stereotyping of African Americans after Hean Cabot, the wife of the local District Attorney Rick Cabot, stares fearfully at them and walks in another direction to avoid them. Anthony and Peter carjack a married couple as they are getting into their Lincoln Navigator.
At the Cabot home, Hispanic locksmith Daniel Ruiz is changing the licks when Jean notices his tattoos and complains loudly to Rick that having endured a carjacking she is upset that a Hispanic man is changing their locks as he will clearly give copies of their keys to his "gang banger friends". Overhearing her deliberately loud remarks Daniel leaves the keys on her kitchen counter.
Detectives Waters and Ria arrive at the scene of a shooting between two drivers. The dead shooter is a black male and is revealed to be an undercover police officer. The surviving shooter is a white male and is also identified as an undercover officer. This is the third time he has shot and killed a black man; there is a large amount of cash discovered in the trunk of the car driven by the black officer.
LAPD Officer John Ryan calls an HMO on behalf of his father and has an argument with a representative named Shaniqua Johnson. He gets into the squad car with his partner Tom Hansen and sees a passenger in another car performing fellatio on the driver of the vehicle which is moving. They pull over the Navigator that is similar to the one carjacked earlier, despite discrepancies in their descriptions. They order the couple to get out if the vehicl. Cameron Thayer, a television director, is cooperative, but his wife Christine is srgumentative which annoys Ryan who manually molests her whilst pretending to pat her down.Camerin is intimidated and says nothing in defense of his wife. The couple is released without a citation but once they are home Christine is enraged that Cameron watched her being violated and did nothing. Cameron insists he reacted correctly and storms out of the house.
Arriving home from work long after dark, Daniel finds his young daughter Lara hiding under her bed because she was scared by the sound of a gunshot outside. Daniel gives her an "invisible impenetrable cloak" which makes her feel safe enough to fall asleep in her own bed. In the carjacked SUV, Anthony and Peter are distracted by the argument they are having and hit a Korean man as they are driving past a parked van, They quarrel about what to do with him and decide to dump him in front of a hospital before driving away. They are now unable to collect any money on the carjacking as there is now blood in the car. The next day at the Los Angeles Police Department station , Hansen talks to his superior officer about switching partners; his superior, Lieutenant Dixon, is a black officer and says that reporting Hansen as a racist could cost all of them their jobs. Dixon suggests transferring to a one-man car and mockingly suggests Hansen explain his request by claiming to have uncontrollable flatulence.
Ryan visits Shaniquia to apologize for his behavior and explains that his father was previously diagnosed with a bladder infection that he fears may actually be prostate cancer. Shaniquia goes to call security to have him escorted from her office and he proceeds to call her an affirmative action hire. Ryan requests a different doctor for his father but she denies his request and he storms out of the office in anger.
Daniel repairs a lock at Farhad's shop and when he tries to explain that the door frame needs to be replaced Farhad misunderstands him and accuses Daniel of trying to cheat him which prompts an angry Daniel to leave.
The following morning, Farhad finds the store defaced with graffiti which his insurance company refuses to cover, blaming negligence because if the defective door. Hearing that his shop will be closed down he vows to get revenge on Daniel.
Detective Todd pays a visit to his mother who is a long term drug abuser. She asks him to find his missing brother and he agrees. He observes that there is no good in the apartment.Later when he goes to present evidence in the shooting between the undercover officers his superiors instruct him not to reveal the presence of the cash in the trunk to protect the image of a non-racist department they have been cultivating.
Jean Cabot cones home and sees dishes still in the dishwasher; she tells off her Hispanic maid for not putting them away yet. Ryan comes across a car accident and as he crawls into the overturned vehicle he finds Christine trapped inside. She recognizes Ryan and becomes hysterical but he calms her down and pulls her our of her car in the nick of time before it bursts into flames. Anthony and Peter approach another Navigator which happens to belong to Cameron. They do not see Cameron until they open the door and are shocked that the driver is black. Cameron is tired of being pushed around and refuses to do what they tell him but although Anthony tells Peter to shoot Cameron he refuses. As police officers arrive at the scene Cameron and Anthony both race for the car and get in. With Anthony still pointing a fun at him Cameron speeds away. A chase ensues and Hansen, one of the responding officers, recognizes Camerob's vehicle. Cameron drives into a dead end and gets our of the car with Anthony's gun in his pocket; as he is reaching for it Handen convinces him to stop inflaming the situation and tells him to go home.
Farhad finds Daniel's house and lies in wait for him but as he goes to shoot him Daniel's daughter Lara jumps into her father's arms so that her invisible cloak can protect him. In horror Daniels wife watches Farhad shoot Lara but she is miraculously unharmed when it transpires that Dorri's special red box of ammunition contained blanks. Farhad believes Lara is his guardian angel and protected him from committing a heinous act.
Peter is hitch-hiking and is picked up by Hansrn,noticing the St Christopher statuette in his car and realizing they have much in common. He laughs to himself but Hansen mistakenly believes the laughter is directed at him and tells him to get out of the car. Peter goes to pull a similar statuette out of his pocket as an explanation but Hansen assumes he is reaching for a gun and shoot him dead. Hansen dumps the body and torches the car. Peter is revealed to be the missing younger brother that Waters is searching for. At the coroners office we learn Dorri is a coroner and vows to find out who was responsible for his brothers death.
Anthony returns to the white can owned by the Korwan man they struck the night before and finding the keys still in the lock drives the van away. When he arrives at a chip shop he frequents it is discovered that there are a number of Cambodian immigrants in the back if the ban because the Korean was involved in human trafficking.Anthony is offered five hundred dollars apiece for the Cambodians but is disgusted and drives to Chinatown where he sets them free. As he drives away Anthony passes a car crash in which Shaniquia is involved and as he drives by she and the other driver get out of their vehicles and begin exchanging racial slurs.