“The film will show you that it didn’t take a law professor or a big-time attorney to turn things around — just people who care,” Carl King said to the audience following a sold-out BAM Rose Cinemas screening of the new biographical award-winning movie Crown Heights.
King, depicted in the film, is the real-life best friend of Colin Warner who was an 18-year-old Trinidadian American who was wrongly convicted in 1982 of murder in the largely West Indian Brooklyn neighborhood. With no law degree or prior legal experience, King became Warner’s lead advocate in the fight to prove his innocence and persevered despite decades of setbacks.
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Hailed as a true hero by several people in the theatre, King was joined on the panel by Innocence Project Speaker’s Bureau speaker Rodney Roberts, Equal Justice Initiative’s Cathleen Price and Brooklyn public defender Deborah Silberman to discuss key themes from the film.
The crowd was largely made up of people affected by the criminal justice system, lawyers, advocates, and survivors who seemed to overwhelmingly relate to Warner’s tragic story from beginning to end. If you haven’t already seen the film, we highly recommend it; King affirmed that the “depiction was on point.”
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The experts on the panel also resoundingly agreed that the film was accurate in portraying systemic failures of criminal justice. True to King’s advocacy, they believe that it takes more than lawyers to fight injustice and encouraged every person there to vote locally, befriend an incarcerated person and never give up hope when a loved one is wrongly imprisoned.
Take a look at more highlights from the conversation that underlined a variety of issues including the impact of incarceration on family, police misconduct and the complexity of the guilty plea system.
Impact on family:
Road to justice is hard fought:
Challenges of New York policy:
Why people plead guilty:
Re-entry after incarceration:
Call to action: