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Central Park Five: Film

FMSF News Alert - April 16, 2013

The film details how five boys came into police custody that night -- they had been part of a larger group that were "making mischief" as one talking head says -- and ended up in squad cars when cops swept through that area of the park. When the comatose victim was found a little later, the police assumed one or several people from this group were responsible, and they began to question the minors for hours on end. Eventually, four of them -- tired, scared, and laboring under the false delusion that they would get to go home if they just said what the cops wanted -- confessed on videotape to the vicious assault. Those tapes are shown in the film, and it’s stomach-churning to sit through them as they are juxtaposed with footage of those kids now grown up, talking about their experiences that night.

PBS Website: Central Park Five

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Another film of interest:

Scenes of A Crime

Featuring FMSF Scientific Advisor Richard Ofshe Ph.D.

"SCENES OF A CRIME" explores a nearly 10-hour interrogation that culminates in a disputed confession, and an intense, high-profile child murder trial in New York state.

The AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION and the AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION have each recognized SCENES OF A CRIME in their annual lists of "outstanding" works.

The New York Times says, "This smart, cool-headed film, which has a ‘Rashomon’-like vision of the case, presents a disturbing picture of courtroom justice."

The Los Angeles Times’ Kenneth Turan says, "If you watch ‘Scenes of a Crime’ -- and you very much should -- be prepared to be outraged. A cool documentary that makes the blood boil, it examines how people can be psychologically manipulated into confessing."

The film won an IFP Gotham Independent Film Award ("Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You"), won the Grand Jury Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the Grand Jury Prize at DOC NYC in the "Viewfinders" section in November.

Police video-recordings allow directors Blue Hadaegh and Grover Babcock to unravel the complicated psychological dynamic between detectives and their suspect during a long interrogation. Detectives, prosecutors, witnesses, jurors and the suspect himself offer conflicting accounts of exactly what happened in this mysterious and disturbing true-crime documentary.

See website for purchase information: Scenes Of A Crime

Pam