True Conviction

There’s a new detective agency in Dallas, Texas, started by three exonerated men, with decades in prison served between them. They call themselves the Freedom Fighters, and they are looking to free innocent people still behind bars.

Christopher Scott was released from prison after serving 13 years of a life sentence for a murder he didn’t commit. This sounds like a nightmare, but it’s more common than you think. More than 30 people like Chris have been exonerated in Dallas County. Most of them are black men locked up in their youth who emerged in middle age looking for a way to make sense of what happened. One day at an exoneree support group meeting, an idea came to Chris: exonerees could become detectives, find other wrongfully convicted people sitting in prison, investigate their cases and prove their innocence.

Freedom Fighters follows Chris and his team (Steven Phillips and Johnnie Lindsey) as they work to realize this dream of becoming detectives, while also trying to understand their own tangled and unjust experiences. On its face, this is a simple, hopeful story about a group of exonerees seeking redemption, attempting to right the wrongs they experienced. However, underneath the narrative surface this is a story of struggle and long odds. Chris Scott has faith that he can make a difference in the criminal justice system, but that faith is challenged as he and his fellow detectives come up against the almost impossible task of freeing a wrongfully convicted person. They have to track down eyewitnesses, try to find the real perpetrators of these crimes, and challenge the original investigations. In these complex cases, they could do many things correctly, but have one missing piece, and a man could still be trapped behind bars. It’s daunting. But throughout the challenges, they remain committed to investigating cases until they crack one.

Civil Rights & Social Justice

Jamie Meltzer