Strong Island (2017) Movie Script

Hello, it's Yance.
Hello, it's Demitri Jones
returning your phone call.
-Hi, Miss Jones. How are you?
I am not sure if you remember my name,
or my brother's name.
He was a homicide victim,
back in 1992, when you were with the
Suffolk County District Attorney's Office.
-His name was William Ford.
You worked on the case
with Stephen O'Brien
and Detective James Hughes.
OK, what do you want to know?
I was calling to see if you were willing
to, within, you know,
your legal restrictions,
answer some of the questions
that have been,
sort of, plaguing me
for the last 22 years.
No. I'm not going to do that.
OK. Do you mind if I ask you why?
Because as a prosecutor,
everything that
happens in the Grand Jury
is confidential.
-So I'm not going to discuss it.
-Sure. Right. No.
I'm asking about the investigation.
Yeah, no, I'm not willing
to discuss any
of my prior cases on film
with anybody.
-May I interview you by phone?
-OK, and...
-I don't want to discuss the case.
And you don't want to make any comment?
I do not want to make any comment.
-OK, Miss Jones. Thank you.
My son...
lying dead in a coffin,
with the most peaceful look on his face.
You, your sister...
And I remember thinking...
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"How are we gonna make it without him?
How will our life go on, without him?"
Even then,
I was saying,
"Wait until we get to court!
I said, "This is a young man who has never
been in trouble in his entire life.
Wait until we get to court."
So you were saying this
to yourself on the day of the funeral?
"Wait until we get to court.
This death is not going to be in vain."
I'm not surprised
that the case didn't go to trial.
I just want to know all the reasons why.
I'm not angry.
I'm also not willing to accept
that someone else gets to say
who William was.
And if you're uncomfortable
with me asking these questions,
you should probably get up and go.
All of the years that we were growing up,
if we went through a section,
or passed a section
that was predominantly white,
you ran.
That's when I started to realize
the economic difference.
OK, so these people weren't wealthy,
but their wealth was that they were white.
My father's name
was George Alexander Dunmore.
I was two when my father died.
He had a severe asthma attack.
He was taken to the hospital.
There was a White waiting room,
and a Colored waiting room,
and even though he was critically...
in respiratory difficulty,
he was made to wait.
And during that period
of time, he died.
Tell me the story of how
you met Dad. When did you meet Dad?
Well, let's not say,
"When did I meet him?"
When did I become aware of him?
What's the difference?
Because I saw him
when I was in the sixth grade,
and he was in the seventh grade.
I did not speak with him
until October of 1958.
I was a sophomore,
and he was a junior.
And... where we lived,
in Charleston, South Carolina,
we always had a Coronation Ball
at County Hall.
Your father came over.
He asked me for a dance,
and he asked me that night
if I would be his girl.
I tried to be cool,
and let a few seconds pass
before I said, "Yes!"
I didn't say yes, I said,
"Yeah, I guess so."
You know?
But I was jumping for joy inside.
Because I had loved this
man from afar
since I was in sixth grade.
We got married
July 10th, 1965.
I think that my husband...
was a gorgeous man, OK?
He was handsome.
We moved to New York.
I absolutely loved it.
We found an apartment in Brooklyn.
I enjoyed it immensely.
It was the kind of apartment building
that had a lot of old Jewish ladies
who lived there.
And they would line up
in front of the window
in the afternoon, and they'd sit there.
They were wonderful.
I remember coming home one day,
and one of them said,
"It looks as if
you're going to have a baby!"
I said, "Oh, my goodness,
I thought I was hiding it."
I was elated, you know.
And when I sang he would get quiet,
and when I stopped,
he would move a little.
And if I didn't start right back up,
his little feet and hands would be moving.
William was born in 1967.
Your father would say,
"That boy's gonna be so spoiled."
He was. He was.
I made an "A"
on the national teachers exam.
I loved teaching.
I loved it.
Because I knew what being educated
had done for my sisters and me.
And I also knew the struggle.
My mom stripped tobacco for a living,
She left school in the fourth grade,
and went to work.
I helped her learn how to read.
I think she had no shame with me,
because I was the youngest.
And I was proud
that I could help her
read and write.
My mother started
out her career
in New York City as an
English teacher,
and worked her way up to
become Principal
of Thomas Jefferson
High School
in East New York.
After 13 years there,
she opened a school
for girls and women at Rikers,
the jail that sits in...
essentially at the end of the runway
at LaGuardia Airport.
She named it Rosewood,
and she developed programs
that helped women leave prison
with skills,
so that they would have options
when they got out of prison.
And my father just believed
in my mother's ability to do anything.
Your father worked
at Andrew Geller's.
Fabulous shoes.
Fantastic, beautiful shoes,
and I loved them.
He wanted to be a draftsman.
He took the test for the
Transit Authority
to become a motorman...
but he could still go to school.
Then you were born.
When Lauren was born,
he was overjoyed.
He was overjoyed.
But as you guys grew,
you were so rambunctious.
We were looking for an apartment.
We looked in Brooklyn.
Nothing that we found
did your father like.
He did not like anything that we found.
I must not have spoken to him
for a month, OK?
I would put pillows
in the middle of the bed,
because it meant that
we had to keep looking,
and at the time, I did not know
how dead set he was
on moving to Long Island.
My father drove the J Train,
which ran on a loop through
some of the
toughest neighborhoods
in the city.
From his motorman's
cabin, he saw a
very different New York
than my mother.
He saw poverty, and crime,
and violence,
and a rapidly declining city.
My father was not a fearful man.
He was a realist.
He had already gotten out
of the Jim Crow South in one piece,
and he didn't want to put
his family or our future at risk.
We came out one Saturday,
and met Sam McCollough.
Nice, you know. He lived in the community.
He was the agent for the company
that bought this land
and built the houses.
I was told later
that they wanted to attract...
people who were employed
by the city, you know,
whom they thought could afford the homes.
A lot of... African Americans
were moving out to Long Island.
Civil servants, like bus drivers,
police officers, correction officers...
and they would put them in pockets,
or neighborhoods in the different towns.
You could go to certain towns...
go to Deer Park and find the same "new D,"
Amityville, find the same "new D,"
but all the rest of Long Island
was, you know, predominantly white.
So in that one neighborhood,
it was a haven.
When you would go out, you know...
you might be running back for your life,
you know?
Growing up
in a new development, a "new D"...
was beautiful.
It was wonderful.
It was safe.
I really,
really did not like it.
Everybody was black.
- You think that
was an accident?
- Of course not.
I guess...
not having grown up...
in a home that belonged to us as a family,
I wanted to ensure
that you guys had it differently.
This has been our home:
147 Cone Avenue, Central Islip.
When they moved to the neighborhood
where I grew up in Central Islip,
it was essentially moving back
into a segregated community.
Segregation draws a line
around not just your neighborhood,
but your life.
"Sorry, you can't have more.
Sorry, you can't earn more.
You can't shop here.
You can't live here. You can't move here.
This is it for you."
While the houses were
affordably priced, it was deceptive.
The taxes were high
and the public schools were bad.
And now, on top of a mortgage
and car payments,
they had to pay
a combined 36 years of tuition
to put three kids through
Catholic school.
The bottom line was,
your father had to leave college.
It got too much for him.
He started working the night shift.
Sometimes I'd be coming down
the Southern State, coming home,
and he'd be going in.
I would blow at him, he'd blow at me
and we would wave, you know.
And for many, many, many years,
that's the way it was.
I think it was good for you guys,
but not good for a
marriage to thrive.
Hey, everybody
Let's have some fun
You only live but once
And when you're dead, you're done
So let the good times roll
I said, let the good times roll
I don't care if you're young or old
You ought to get together
Let the good times roll
I loved that my mother,
made it really clear that, no matter what,
my brother, my sister and I,
our principal job in life
was to love each other.
I'm grateful for that directive.
It's one of the reasons
why I miss my brother so much.
William was seven years older than I was,
and that is fantastic.
Being nine years old
and having a 16-year-old brother
who can get you into R-rated movies
and buy you comic books,
and be able to drive you around...
He would look at me and say,
"Kato, we're on a mission."
No matter what we were doing.
We could be going
to the grocery store to pick up...
wax paper, you know,
and he was like, "We're on a mission."
Another challenge
for the Green Hornet,
his aide, Kato, and their rolling
arsenal, the Black Beauty.
Kato was
the Green Hornet's sidekick.
Kato was played by Bruce Lee.
We grew up watching
old-school Batman and Robin,
and The Green Hornet.
Hornet gun. Let's roll, Kato.
Being called Kato was like,
an honor, you know,
because Bruce Lee was awesome.
We both loved martial arts, you know,
and comic books and stuff like that.
We'd, like, pass them around
and say, "Look at this.
Do you see the artwork on this one?"
"Oh, did you see the plotline on this one?
Oh, man!
They're going to kill this guy off? No!"
You know?
It was just awesome.
Football is how we met.
His dad and my dad,
and his self and myself,
were all on the same team.
And that's how we began
our friendship.
Ford was a center, I was
a defensive end,
and we used to rely on
each other for
rides back and forth
to practice.
From that time... until he passed away,
I would pretty much say
we were pretty much inseparable.
Me and William.
Ford was protective
of those around him,
especially his sisters.
I was 15.
He was the first person to tell me
I looked pretty, you know?
He's like, "Now look at yourself."
And he's like, "You're pretty."
And I'm like, "No, I'm not."
And he's like, "Yes, yes, you are."
That's just something I never forgot.
My parents wanted
to raise remarkable kids.
Our blackness, and what it meant
to be black in America,
and how to survive being
black in America,
and the resilience that needed
to be black in America,
as well as the pride,
was something that
our parents
instilled in us
extraordinarily well.
But it didn't occur to them
that there were other things
that their kids might struggle with.
William's room had been directly
across the hall from my parents.
He quickly...
OK, what I remember...
There are five steps
from the main level of the house
down into the basement.
By that summer,
William had moved to the basement.
I would sneak into William's room
and I'd read his magazines, and...
You know, I read a lot of Playboy...
that summer!
I read a lot of Forum magazine
that summer.
that was something that I...
felt, really...
excited by, and ashamed of.
Because I knew I was queer,
and there was no one
to talk about it with.
Happy birthday,
dear Yance!
Happy birthday to you!
I never asked...
I never asked my parents questions.
You know, we had health
class in school,
so I learned about sex
and childbirth...
from Catholic nuns.
Instead of going to math class,
I went to the library and found...
you know, Rita Mae Brown books,
and even though they were corny,
I read those.
That's how I learned that there were
other gay people in the world.
I never told William
that I was queer,
and I wish I had.
That's right, the basement room
was my brother's last room,
and he was living at home,
when he was killed.
I think it was a weekend,
because William and Lesline
had taken me bowling.
It was a fun night.
I bowled a 96.
On the way back,
I was sitting behind William.
Lesline was driving.
We were going to take the shortcut
onto Brightside, and as we were turning,
I saw this tow truck
that didn't have any lights on,
and before I could say, "Look out,"
bam, we were in a car accident.
William helped
me out of the car.
He asked me if I was OK.
I said yes,
and then he walked me
over to the tree stump,
sat me down, said, "Stay here."
The tow truck belonged
to some kind of body shop,
and they said that
if they didn't file a police report,
that they would fix Lesline's car.
All I knew was that it was
being fixed by the guys who hit it.
Once I found out
where the car was at,
I said to Ford that,
"I don't think the place
is legit. I
don't think it is what
you think it is."
That, "You got to be very careful."
That they weren't the kind of people
you wanted to play around with.
I was on Rikers Island
at the time,
and Lesline got a job
working for me.
One day, we were driving home,
and she asked me if I would stop by
so she could see if her
car was finished.
But it wasn't finished.
And that's when the drama started.
Sitting downstairs
on the sofa,
and the phone rang, and it was Ford,
and he says,
"Hey, what's going on? I
need a favor."
So I said, "What's up?" And he goes,
"I need to go to pick up the car."
It was late, I thought it was weird,
but at that point I'd known the shop
to be open all types of hours of night.
So I said, "Oh, great! Are you sure
you're picking up the car?"
He's like, "Yeah, it's all done,"
and I'm like, "This is over.
Let's get in the car. It's over."
I got in the car, went the three
blocks to get to
Ford's house.
He came outside, seemed
in a good mood,
so I didn't think
He gets in the car.
I remember turning the car
on and saying,
"Let's go to Queens."
"Queens" was our strip club's...
code for going to a strip club.
"Let's go to Queens, let's get a beer."
He goes, "Yeah, sure.
Let me just go and get the car."
I said OK.
We got up the street
to the first stop sign,
and again I said,
"I think we should go get a beer,"
and he says, "Kev, you're bugging.
Take me to get the car."
We turn, we start heading
down Ferndale
towards Brightside,
once you make that turn
it's pretty much right there.
I remember him going
into the yard and
somebody coming out of
the shop door
and meeting him in the yard.
And immediately words
started getting
exchanged. And I said,
"Oh, here we go."
And it's nothing physical,
and it's nothing too out of control,
so I'm just, like, not saying nothing.
I'm just kind of standing there,
and then...
someone walked out of the garage area.
Three feet, four feet,
stopped dead in his tracks.
Ford turned and said,
"Kevin, that's the kid
that cursed out my mother."
And then, back we grew up,
nobody disrespects your mom.
At that point, I knew somebody
was going to get into a fight.
There was nothing for me to say,
so I just said, "OK."
And Ford went to walk towards him.
The kid turned,
went back in the garage
and made a left.
The minute Ford walked into that
garage door and made a left,
I heard a pop.
And I said to the guy, I said,
"What the hell was that?"
And he says, "I don't know."
I said, "It sounded
like an air compressor,"
and then I said,
"Do you guys have a gun here?"
He said,
"Yeah, we have one in the back."
I said, "Oh, shit."
The phone rang.
Kevin was on the phone.
"Ms. Ford,
you need to come to Super Stang."
I said, "Why?"
He said, "Something happened."
She takes the car.
And all I know is that
she pulled out of the driveway,
heading down Cone Avenue.
There was a barricade.
No officer spoke to me.
No officer...
would look at me.
Kevin came to me,
and he said,
"Mark Reilly shot William."
And I said to the officer,
you know...
"Where is my son?
I want to be with my son."
And he told me that...
they had taken him to LIPA,
to airlift him...
to Stony Brook.
We went to the emergency room.
The area where he was,
from here to that wall...
with beds, you know,
where people were being treated.
he was laying there.
And he looked so peaceful.
body is that of
a well-developed obese
black male.
The body weighs 240 pounds,
is five feet, eight
inches in height,
and appears compatible
with the reported age of 24 years.
wound of chest.
Eleven o'clock rolls by.
Midnight comes by, and I haven't
heard anything from Mom.
And Dad gets home. It's about
one o'clock in the morning.
"What are you doing up? Where is
your mother? Where is William?"
And I'm like, "He was in a fight
and Mom went to get him."
I hear a car pull up outside.
You know, Dad's looking at her,
I'm downstairs looking at her,
and she comes in and she's like,
"He's gone."
- Is that how she said it?
- Yeah.
Dad just held her,
and held me, and...
We all just cried.
You know?
Dad sent me upstairs to my room.
Whatever she explained,
she explained to Dad.
She never explained it to me.
"My boss asked me to call home.
She was the Dean of Multicultural
Recruitment at Hamilton.
I asked her what was wrong.
She told me to stay calm.
I told her not to tell
me to stay calm.
My dad answered the phone.
I said, 'Is it Mom?'
He said, 'Your mother is fine.'
I said, 'Lauren?'
Or maybe I said, 'What's happening?'
He said, 'Your brother is gone.'
The next part of the conversation
is a blur to me.
I remember screaming
and punching the wall.
Packing a few clothes,
including the one dress I owned,
and leaving.
That was the beginning.
I remember walking into the house
and feeling immediately
like I was surrounded by strangers,
even though they were people I
had known for most of my life.
I remember walking in
and having to suppress the urge
to tell everyone
to get the fuck out of the house.
My mother was on the couch,
sleeping and crying.
My father was...
My sister...
was alone.
And I felt like all the people
who were there were in the way,
and were obstructing my
ability to see
where the next threat
was coming from.
If I could have turned
around and left,
I would have, but that
wasn't an option."
We went to
meet with the DA.
I'm not going to lie to you and say,
"Well, the DA said this
and the detective said that."
This is what I can tell you:
from what they said,
I did not feel that we were received
as parents of a victim.
OK? We weren't received
as parents of a victim.
We were received as...
folks being informed
that an investigation had to be conducted,
and would be conducted.
was foolish enough to think
that, well, you know,
"It's gonna be OK."
And then one day
I got a call to come...
see Ms. Jones.
We had no experience
with this kind of stuff.
Maybe I should have had a lawyer.
I don't know what should have went on.
She called and said "Meet me."
You just go there, answer questions...
you know, about that night.
That's what I thought.
To be honest, I didn't know she was a DA.
I was thinking I was going to a detective.
I was shocked
when she walked in the room.
She really started
with the stuff with the gym.
She was like, "You look
like you're in pretty good shape,"
and, "How much do you weigh?"
She asked something about William's size,
kind of, more telling me than asking me,
and I don't think she sat down.
She kept walking back and forth
in front of the table.
It was just...
I was like,
"Why are they asking me all these
questions about strength and gym and..."
It was not a lot about that night,
or about...
What they spent time on
was investigating his background.
That's what they spent time on.
Day by day, you hear
that your son is being investigated.
Day by day, you hear rumors.
And you grow more and more afraid.
Countless number of times,
at all hours of the night,
during the summer
after my brother was killed,
I could look outside the window,
and there was a car
parked across the street.
That car, and whoever was in that car
was watching our house
and trying to intimidate my parents.
The phone rang in the middle of the night,
every night for months.
When I was home, I unplugged
all of the phones in the house
except for the one in my room,
so my parents could
sleep through the night.
So that they wouldn't have
to pick up the phone and say, "Hello?"
and not have anyone respond.
So they wouldn't have to hang up the phone
and go to the window,
and see the car sitting across the street.
Having grown up
in the South,
where the cops and the Klan
were one and the same,
my parents didn't turn
to the police for protection.
They had already felt
that the police
had turned their own son
into the prime suspect in
his own murder.
So not only is the phone
ringing, not
only is there a car
across the street,
but there's the growing sense
that the DA is going
to actually let this kid
get away with murder.
"May 20th, 1992.
District Attorney James Catterson.
Dear Mr. Catterson,
I am the mother of William Ford Jr.
a 24-year-old man
who was murdered by Mark Reilly.
My family and I have been working
with Detective James Hughes
and Assistant DA Stephen O'Brien
regarding the investigation of this crime.
We have waited and worked cooperatively
with the investigation.
There is, however,
a nagging doubt which I have,
regarding the prosecution of this crime.
Now, nearly two months later
after his deliberate death,
I and my family have yet to receive
even a note from the Reillys.
Adding insult to injury,
I now fear that your office has not yet
fully embraced the advocacy
for the people of the State of New York
in the prosecution of this case.
It is because we are being told, quote,
'It is entirely up to the Grand Jury.'
I believe that
the strength of the presentation
made to the Grand Jury by your office
is the determining factor.
My son was not armed,
not violent, not aggressing.
In no way is his death justifiable.
I intend never to rest
until his murderer is brought to justice.
With the advocacy of your office
for the people of the State of New York,
I trust that it will be soon,
for we too, are the people.
Barbara Dunmore-Ford."
You know, the Grand Jury
is sort of this mystery, right, to people,
And it's written
right into our Constitution.
So really, it shouldn't be a mystery,
but it is.
You know, the Bill of Rights calls
for a Grand Jury in felony cases,
and that allows the prosecutor to present
its evidence to a neutral party,
whether it's a Grand Jury
or a judge in a preliminary hearing,
to show that there's two things:
one, that there is probable cause
that a crime has been committed,
and probable cause that this is
the individual who committed the crime.
So at a trial, we have to prove beyond
reasonable doubt, to a moral certainty,
that the person charged is
the defendant who committed the crime.
But in the Grand Jury
it's just probable cause.
In order for the case to go to a trial,
the Grand Jury would have had to...
I mean, I wasn't there, but presumably
they would have voted a True Bill,
saying that there was
probable cause to move forward.
So a Grand Jury is somewhat mysterious,
I think, to the general public.
Another reason that is,
is that it's secret.
And, you know, that actually...
I think some people
get concerned with that.
It's actually supposed to be
a protection for the defendant.
And the idea there is, you know,
if the Grand Jury decides
that there is not probable cause,
that the person should not have
the stigma of, you know,
having been brought before a Grand Jury.
And, you know,
the disclosure of secret Grand Jury
material can be a crime in jurisdictions,
and it's certainly unethical
for a prosecutor to disclose...
things that happen in a Grand Jury.
And the Grand Jurors themselves
can't disclose.
Now, the witnesses, in New York,
are free to talk about
what they presented to the Grand Jury.
What flashed
into my mind just
now, was the room we
were waiting in.
The ADA came in,
and called me in to testify.
I walk in. I sit down.
I look around the room.
I see nobody who looks like me.
No person of color.
They were sitting in an area
like a theater.
Elevated seats.
There must have been
twenty-something people there.
One person was reading a book,
another lady was reading a magazine,
there was a conversation going on...
My feelings were,
when I sat in that chair...
was, "They don't care
about what I have to say.
They really don't."
They weren't paying attention.
They weren't.
I became very angry with myself,
because at one point...
I began to cry.
And I...
hated that moment.
I felt that...
you know, they were going to say,
"Here is another black woman
who didn't do her job with her child,
and now she wants us
to make somebody pay."
That's how I felt.
When your father came back,
he said to me...
"Don't expect anything,
because it ain't gonna happen."
- And how did you find out?
- They came here.
Who came here?
One ADA,
and a detective.
And what did they tell you?
They didn't indict.
They returned a No True Bill.
That was it?
"I'm sorry."
What happened after that?
I opened the door and said,
"Thank you for coming."
And I will be very honest with you.
When that door closed, I collapsed.
I haven't ever, not once,
tried to imagine what he looks like.
I think he looks like...
no offense to present company,
every white man I've ever seen.
I think he looks like...
the ticket taker...
on the Long Island Railroad.
I think he looks like, you know...
the guy in front of me, buying a beer,
at the bar.
I think he looks like, you know...
the schmuck who took my cab.
He looks like my physical therapist.
He looks like, you know...
anybody, anyone, everyone.
He's everywhere.
He looks like everywhere.
It's one of those things
you do in high school.
Everybody just....
proves themselves.
And... Ford proved himself
on a daily basis!
He just took on this personality,
I guess, once he realized his size,
and that he could... you know,
that he could intimidate people.
It was actually my birthday,
I think it was my 16th birthday,
and one of the more menacing
kids decided
that day was my turn to
get picked on.
We were in a fight,
and one of his friends had a knife,
and tried to give the knife
to the person I was engaged with.
Ford just stopped him, and he goes,
"I wouldn't do that if I was you."
He just grabbed the knife and the
kid just kind of looked at him,
and went back to watching the fight.
You know, I don't know
if he saved my life.
It was just, Ford was very protective.
Ford got his license
in the 11th grade.
Your family had an extremely large,
green station wagon.
I think it probably fit,
like, 15 people
in it, and we made sure
that it did.
And we would travel to
different towns,
looking for trouble and
looking for girls.
Ninety-nine percent trouble
and one percent girls!
Living in CI, who the hell am I?
AJ Rok the juice, I get fly
Cool with the riffing
Guy, keep a handle
Cause if you don't
I'll wax you down like a candle
Kill it or shoot it
Buy it or distribute it
But either way the two's
Styling and wilding
Constantly smiling
We'll keep trooping
In a place called Strong Island
So the first time I met him was in '85,
our freshman year at Howard University
in Washington DC.
And Ford was the only one
that had on a shirt and tie,
slacks, and some...
you know, a pair of dress shoes!
Everybody else was
in sneakers and shorts.
And it was strange,
because the first thought
you would think is,
"Is he a nerd?"
You know, was he a square, or...
But he actually wasn't any of that.
You know, he was just...
He liked to make
a good impression, you know?
The second semester
was the hardest for him.
He didn't love Howard, you know.
He wanted to be home, you know.
He wanted to be home. Yeah.
30th, 1989.
I'm trying to keep
all aspects of my life balanced
and be successful in all of them.
I cut school today to go get a job.
I got a Sunday-to-Thursday
three-to-11 shift, driving a cab.
I need the money for Valentine's Day
and Mom's birthday,
and my other job doesn't start
until the 15th."
"Looking at her is peace itself.
He is at last where he
has longed to be.
Finally, a loving place
in her heart.
He looks upon her
and now begins to wonder
if the love of someone so radiant
can be possessed.
He likes holding her in his arms,
close to him, breathing together
as if from one heart.
He loves her gentle kisses
under his neck
that make him powerless
to stand.
Does she know that she is
the ghost that haunts his dreams?
Dream, and dream.
He begins to wonder.
He looks at her
because he doesn't want to lose
what he is not certain he truly has.
He will always look.
Anything she wants.
William Ford, Jr."
Some of the stuff,
I couldn't wrap my mind around.
I said, "Bread, man,
what are you writing about, man?"
But in retrospect,
it could have just been life,
man, you know.
William needed a job
to get him back on his feet,
and my mother helped him
get a position
as an assistant teacher.
He was assigned to the boys' school
on Rikers Island
and helped teach math to the
young men who were jailed there.
When Cornbread
started teaching
at Rikers, I think his
innocence was lost.
The tragedy...
to see others...
that... that look like you, are you...
still in bondage.
To try to wrap your mind
around what needs to be done,
at a young age,
realizing there's no quick fix,
and this was...
it was like a culture shock.
I think the... his experience at Rikers
deepened him, you know?
It deepened him,
to the point that...
he wanted to... to make...
make his... efforts count for something.
William walked towards the
garage and made a left.
It wasn't maybe two seconds,
three seconds...
I just heard, like, a pop.
By the time I got to the garage door,
William was backpedaling,
and he just kind of spun,
I mean, with the biggest eyeballs,
and he just looked at me and he goes,
"Kev, he shot me."
And... I wasn't strong enough
to hold him up.
We both kind of fell to the ground.
You know, once I asked the guy,
he was named Tom,
"What kind of gun is it?"
And he goes,
"Oh, it's a twenty-two. It's a rifle."
So I kind of chuckled and I...
you know, it's kind of something you use
to hunt rabbits or birds, you know?
I remember laughing,
and I'm holding Ford, and going,
"Dude you got shot with a .22!
This is hilarious!
Are you kidding me? Get up!"
Ford wasn't saying nothing.
I'm like, "Dude, get up."
Then I saw some kind of...
fluid, you know, on the pavement,
and I'm just, like, "What is that?"
you know, it was never...
I never saw any blood.
I just remember things happening very fast
at that point.
The police came
and they're, like, grabbing me,
and pulling me to get away from Ford,
and I'm like, "You can't leave him there!"
And they're like, "There's a person
with a gun inside, get behind the car."
They put me behind the police car
and they left Ford there.
I'm like, "You can't leave him here."
And, one police officer was like,
"You better not move."
And the next thing I know,
they were walking out
with the guy that, you know, shot him.
And he never went in handcuffs,
and that was kind of odd to me.
I don't remember them putting him in a
police car. They put him against the car.
And there was a conversation that ensued.
That's the part that was just weird to me.
I kept paying attention to that part.
At some point, a limousine pulled up,
and I remember them walking this kid
to the limousine.
And I just stood there, like,
"This is crazy that he's not in handcuffs,
that he's going to get into a limo."
He was in there for some period of time.
I kept asking, I said,
"Where's the ambulance? What's going on?
I've got to go see Ford.
I've got to go see my friend."
And this cop is like, "You're not going
anywhere, you're coming to the precinct.
You have a lot of questions to answer.
You have to understand that a man
has been murdered here tonight."
It's how I found out that Ford
had already, I guess, passed away.
And I remember standing there,
and I'm like, "What?
What do you mean? He's dead?"
From the time that William was shot
and that limo pulled up,
the story got made then.
You know,
that this person...
was not going to jail, period.
You know.
It just wasn't going to happen.
So after William was killed,
I was...
I tried to have
eyes in the back of my head.
Am I saying what I really mean?
I remember coming here and I remember...
you know, kind of...
you know, kind of coming inside
and seeing you guys.
And your mom was sitting on the couch,
and I was kind of scared to approach her.
And she was, like...
She's like, "Come here."
And I kind of walked over
and she said, "Sit on my lap."
And she said, "Kevin, just two things."
She goes, "Don't desert me,"
and she goes,
"This is what Ford would have wanted.
He would have wanted you to be there."
That was just...
It took the air out of me, you know?
It left me constantly winded, man.
You know.
You know...
I decided not to let anybody see me upset.
Because then they would want
to talk about it.
And I don't want to talk about it.
Back then, I didn't want to talk about it.
So whenever anybody asked me
how I was doing, I said I was doing fine.
I started spending some time...
away from home,
because I couldn't be here by myself.
Or, you know, with Mom and Dad.
Mom just spontaneously crying, and...
If I wasn't with my friends after school,
I was here, either in my room,
or watching TV.
And just... just staying quiet.
After William was killed,
I was scared.
I was scared to leave my home,
I was scared to stay.
I was scared that my parents would...
Your father said to me,
"Don't do anything to hurt my daughters.
Don't do anything to hurt my girls.
These are vicious people.
Your son was shot down like a dog.
You're not going to be with them always,
I'm not with them always.
The girls are all we have left."
I wanted him to be angry.
I wanted him to be outraged.
I wanted him...
I wanted him to get a gun...
to avenge my son's death.
He became silent.
We never sat down as a family
and talked about what happened.
We just kind of...
went into our own spaces,
went into our own heads.
The house had a stillness
unlike anything I've ever felt
in my life.
It was like...
all the sound...
left the world.
I thought...
that I could comfort your father,
or... and that he would comfort me.
But he turned his back.
I would move over, over...
and... he couldn't go any further.
He couldn't go any further.
So I got up and I walked
around the bed,
and I got in front of him.
I just said,
"It's not your loss.
It's our loss.
We, together, created this child.
God granted him to us for these years.
You can't grieve an issue
that came from my body,
and shut me out."
And we both cried.
He embraced me, and we both cried.
And that's how we went to sleep.
Yance, go down.
Why don't you let us button up your strap?
My father had
the stroke that
paralyzed him on the left
side of his body
the year after my brother
was killed.
Help me stand up.
Help you stand up?
Right. OK.
Yance, stand next to Dad.
-Do you want to stand beside me?
-Where are you?
-I'm right here.
That's the good side.
The right side is the good side.
-I know.
-Alright. OK.
Smile, Dad.
What else?
OK, this is good. I'm done.
And... fading to black.
When I went to college,
I did start doing what I wanted to do.
I had filled out an application
for the Rochester Police Department...
you know?
And I was looking into
the Monroe Sheriff's County...
the Monroe County Sheriff's Department.
I wanted to... I was pursuing...
you know, being a cop
or being an EMT up there,
when Dad had his stroke,
Mom was like, "We can't
afford to keep you up there."
7:30 in the morning.
I had woken up late.
I got dressed, got my
stuff together...
I had to go to class,
because we had a test.
I go into the city. I do my thing.
I come back home,
but the first thing I see
is Dad's wheelchair folded up
in the corner of the foyer,
and I'm like, "What's going on?"
Mom found him outside,
underneath the porch in a
nice shady spot,
where he liked to sit
and watch people go by.
I did William a
great disservice
in raising him the way we did.
we've always tried to teach you guys
that you see character
and not color.
And many, many times, I wonder...
how I could be so wrong.
The only nightmare
I ever remember having
is my mother,
standing at the top of the stairway
in her nightgown.
Her hair is on end.
There's light behind her.
I can't see her face.
She says to me,
"This house is made of bone.
This house is made of bone.
This house is made of bone."
I failed
to keep my son alive.
I failed you and your sister,
in not pursuing justice.
How do you know...
when and what to do differently?
OK, my dear.
Thank you very much.
Want to go up to the mirror
to take a look?
My mother always suspected
that there was something else,
that she didn't know,
or that she hadn't been told,
that had happened, that had
contributed to my brother's death.
She had asked me,
"Is there anything that you know
that I don't know?"
And I flat out lied to her
on more than one occasion,
and said, "No.
You know everything I know."
And that wasn't true.
I never told my mom about
the conversation
that William had with me.
I never told my mother
that he called.
I went to college 300
miles from home,
in the middle of upstate
New York.
When I got to Hamilton,
I could finally come out.
I just didn't have to hide anymore.
And that's the person
that William didn't know.
When William had a confrontation...
Not the night that he was shot
but about a month earlier,
at the garage,
and threw a vacuum cleaner
and picked up a... a car door...
threatening to slam it down...
He called me after that,
and told me what he had done, and...
I was proud of him.
I cheered him on, for being a bad-ass,
for not taking shit from anybody.
And he actually called me.
He could have called his friends.
He could have chosen not to call anyone.
But he called me, and told me about it.
Because he was proud of himself.
And I think that he wanted me
to be proud of him.
And I was.
And I felt a little bit like...
even though he might not have fully known
who he was talking to...
it felt like he was talking
to the real me.
And that's why that phone call is so dear.
That's why it's so important.
And that's why I feel like I fucked it up.
Mark Reilly is accountable
for William's death
because Mark Reilly shot William.
But I could have helped William stay
out of that situation to begin with.
If I had told my parents
about the first incident,
he would have been stopped
in his tracks,
because they both would have
come down on him.
But instead,
I enjoyed...
my brother, the hero.
And a month later or so,
that hero was dead.
The madness that is my brother's death,
would drive me mad,
if I weren't able...
to hold myself accountable
for at least a small part of it.
Because then, it sort of...
it grounds it somewhere.
It puts it on the earth,
as opposed to in the ether,
or as opposed to... in the unknown,
or in the anonymous.
If I don't ground it,
in some way, in myself,
then it's everywhere, all the time.
It's ubiquitous.
And that actually is a greater,
more damaging,
heavier burden to live with,
than to blame myself
for not being a smarter 19-year-old,
when my brother called me and told me
about this stupid fight that he had.
Does that make sense?
Detective's Association.
Good morning. I was hoping to speak
to Detective James Hughes, please.
This is Detective James Hughes.
Good morning, Detective Hughes.
My name is Yance Ford.
I don't know if my name
is familiar to you at all.
It's familiar because I
just got back from
vacation and listened
to your message.
I do remember the case.
I remembered it
as soon as I heard your
brother's name.
You know, obviously, the Grand Jury,
when presented with the evidence,
came back with a No True
Bill on the case.
You know, there was a...
The Grand Jury pretty much looked at
the case as... a self-defense case.
They felt it was a justifiable...
The way the Grand Jury went was
supported by the facts and evidence.
Just, you know, I mean... and that's
part of what made the case so hard.
But, I mean, this wasn't a thing
where I thought the Grand Jury
went the wrong way.
Because I had a number
of different statements from people,
about incidents prior to
this incident.
I mean, I know that
there was one incident before...
the night that he was killed,
because he told me about it.
You know, he'd picked up a car door.
He'd thrown a vacuum cleaner.
Oh, yeah.
So I know that that incident occurred.
I don't know...
Let me see if I can get a hold
of any of my reports.
OK. Anything... Anything you could
share with me would be really helpful.
-I can't promise. But if I can...
-No, of course not.
I really appreciate it.
Thank you very much.
-I'll talk to you within the next
week. -OK, sounds good. Thank you.
- Hey, there.
- Hey.
How's it going?
I just talked to Detective Hughes.
Oh, my goodness.
I need to talk. I just need to hear
your voice for a few minutes.
I'm right here. I'm right here.
The fucking vacuum cleaner...
Oh, my God. why they didn't indict him.
Because he threw a vacuum cleaner.
Because he picked up a car door.
And because apparently that's enough
to justify reasonable fear.
What kind of investigation was this?
The fucking vacuum cleaner.
Oh, my gosh, my love.
Wait. What else did he say?
Nothing. I just hung up
the phone with him.
He's going to call me back next week.
-He's gonna call you back next week.
OK. -Yeah.
Did you start crying on the phone
or after?
After. I managed to keep myself together!
Deep breath. Take a deep breath.
Thank you.
-I'll be home soon, OK?
-OK. Talk to you soon. Bye.
You know, I actually had hoped
to not be in New York that weekend.
I had hoped to be in Chicago
with a bunch of my friends.
But I couldn't get anyone to cover
my shifts at the DA's office.
I didn't have any cash
so I went to the local ATM,
and as I was doing the transaction,
I felt something at the back of my head.
And at first I actually thought it was
one of my roommates,
maybe playing a joke
or something like that.
I turned around and there was, you know,
a man standing there
with a gun in his hand.
You know, very surreal.
You know, it's sort of...
people describe... sort of slow motion.
And that's sort of what I, you know,
went through at that point.
My, sort of, heart,
at that point was in my throat.
You know, I could feel my sort of...
constriction, in my throat.
And I basically made a break for the door,
you know, giving him the money,
and then there was an explosion.
And, you know,
I remember actually more the sound first,
and then this feeling,
like someone had just, you know...
punched me in the kidney, right?
And it was this huge disconnect.
It just... the explosion was one thing,
And then there was this feeling in my...
like a really hard punch to the kidney.
And then it was suddenly this realization.
"Oh, my God, I've been... He shot me."
And I remember yelling out, like,
"Oh my God, he shot me."
And then he was gone.
I remember thinking,
"I'm not going to die here. Not today.
Not here on the streets of Brooklyn."
And... sorry.
So I put my hand behind my back,
because I was like, "What is that?"
Like I was feeling, like... moisture.
And my hand was soaked in blood.
I'm dying.
So I...
I just need to get to a live person,
someone I can talk to
who's going to know what to do.
I knew the one place
you always find people is the subway,
and also the token clerk, and...
So I actually had a badge,
as a prosecutor,
and you know, I pulled out my badge
and I said, "Help me, I've been shot."
And I sort of put it up
against the window and...
She was like, "OK, alright," you know,
"Hold on, honey. Hold on, honey."
And, you know, she quickly made a call
on something and then she came out,
which, I found out later,
is against all protocol.
it was this moment of humanity.
She just held me.
And... she encouraged me to sit down,
and I was afraid to shut my eyes,
because if I fall asleep,
I'm not going to wake up.
They got me up.
They got me into an ambulance.
I didn't realize that
they shut down the
Brooklyn Bridge, to get
me over there.
The other thing I had a
vague memory of,
when I was still down
in the subway...
These two guys coming up and one saying,
"Hey, man, what happened?
Where did you go?"
You know. "We saw you, we saw you."
Or, you know, "We couldn't find you."
And again, I found out later
from the prosecutor
that one of them was your brother.
Or was your brother or his friend.
They apparently had seen part of it,
or had seen this...
one of the guys running away.
And I guess one of them
would chase after the guy,
and one of them went to try to find me.
Mr. Ford's testimony was basically,
the guy was running right down the middle
of the street, and he ran after him.
The guy with the gun.
And jumped on him, and caught him.
That's my remembrance
of what had happened.
And I remember that we made an X
right in the middle of the street,
on a picture,
as to where that had happened.
I mean, he just, he reacted,
and I was trying to remember,
was he in the service or something?
What gave him the training or ability
to handle himself
in such a... effective way?
You know? Fearless.
It was a... it was a heroic act, I think.
"January 1st, 1992.
It's a new year.
I'd said I was not going
to make any resolutions,
but there are some goals that I
would like to get accomplished.
One. By June 1st, I would like
to be a corrections officer.
Or I will be back in school.
These are my only two options.
Two. This year,
I want to stand and not falter.
I want to calm some of my fears.
I want to feel peaceful.
This is the year for me to find me.
January 2nd.
It's only the second day of the year
and already I'm feeling lonely.
I'm tired of every aspect of my life
having an undecided feeling.
January 7th.
When I got home, there was a letter
from the Department of Corrections,
telling me I have 30 days
to come in for my weigh-in.
I'm on a two-day
fast, and will be
back down to 245
by Wednesday.
I couldn't ask
for a more powerful motivation.
40,000 dollars a year!
I've been trying to get this job
for almost two years,
and now it all comes down
to the next 28 days.
The only thing that I must remember
is that there can be no failure.
There is no starting over.
This is the last chance I'm going to get,
and I must take it.
January 9th. I'm at 241.
My next goal is to be at 230 by the 19th.
The goal after that is 225 by the 25th.
Then, if I am down to 220 by the 30th,
I will go in on the 31st.
And I still have two tricks up my sleeve
that I've been holding in reserve:
Ex-Lax and Lasix.
January 28th.
The only problem is,
I think I'm getting sick.
I'm feeling weaker
than I have felt the whole time.
I have to hang on until Friday.
I don't care if I have to crawl
into the place. I will not give up.
January 30th. The last day.
I do know that this
is a chance to start over,
with a whole new everything.
It's not just a new job,
it's a new adventure.
Pull this off, and then you can...
actually make
a small chunk of the world yours.
Pull this off, and you can actually make
a small chunk of the world yours.
Just do it."
"Dear Candidate,
This is in reply to your appeal
to the City Civil Service Commission
of your disqualification
for appointment
to the above position,
Correction Officer,
The City Personnel Director
has granted your appeal,
It's May 15th,
so he has been dead now...
He's been dead for six weeks.
But, hey,
he's medically qualified.
Oh, I'm getting there.
I had my eyes done.
I certainly look as if
I fought with Muhammad Ali,
he beat me up, went and had dinner,
and came back
and punched me in the face some more!
The children are doing well.
They're not children anymore.
They tell me what to do.
But every now and then,
you've got to put them back in place.
You've got to let them know
that you're still the boss.
I'm still the boss, Yance.
I always knew that.
Thank you for calling.
You brought bright rays of sunshine
in my life.
What are you doing now?
I want to make sure that there's
ice going down the side of your cheek.
Like, to this place, here.
And down the side of here, also.
You know, so that we get
some ice on the corners.
So why don't you put a piece of tape
from here, back there?
And if you need to take
the earring out, you can.
From what I was able
to put together...
...there was a car accident
on February 16th.
Apparently, it was with
a Super Stang
vehicle, driven by
Mark Reilly.
There was an agreement made
at the scene
that Super Stang would fix the car.
Then time started to stretch out.
By March 19th, Lesline
and your mom went
to the shop to see what
was going on.
Mark Reilly may have said something
that got your mom... your mom upset,
which got William upset.
And William went to the shop
with Kevin Myers.
William was speaking to
Thomas Datre.
Coincidentally, he's in the news
now. Have you seen it?
I have.
William was talking to Datre.
He was very angry
because he'd upset his mother.
He was described as "shaking
with anger."
Wanted to know
who disrespected his mother.
He picked up a car door and was
about to throw it, from a Corvette.
The girl who owned the
Corvette was there
and stepped in. He put
the door down.
At that time William picked up a
vacuum, put it over his head.
The water kind of,
like, fell out onto him,
and he threw the vacuum
and broke it.
He picked up a hammer, and began...
He came at Mark Reilly.
I guess he held him responsible,
because he may have been the one
who disrespected your mom.
He never swung it at him, never hit
him, he never threatened him.
-But he had the hammer in his hand.
Mark was petrified.
But other members there,
they actually were kind of, like...
laughing at him.
And they were calling him
a little girl.
I mean, he was obviously
Your brother was a big guy,
and he was intimidated.
After that, William went home,
and your mom noticed
that he was soaking wet.
Asked what happened, and he said
that he was... he was wet
with sweat from the gym.
And I followed up on that.
I went to the gym.
But your brother had not been
at the gym that day.
I was there,
the night of the... Corvette incident.
You know, William kept saying,
"What do I have to do?
Why isn't my car being fixed?
You got time to work on everything else."
And he's... kind of like this.
And then he saw the Corvette.
I was like, "No, not the Corvette!"
You know, kind of like that, you know.
he never damaged the car.
And it wasn't a situation.
Because there were guys laughing.
There were people, like... I don't want
to use the word "egging him on,"
but clowning with him.
We were laughing, and clowning, and...
I'd say there were ten to 15 people there.
Scared of what?
The vehicle was
released to your... to
your mom, I guess.
There was something
about somebody
from the shop following
the car home,
and as a result of that,
on April 7th,
Kevin Myers, again with William,
returned to Super Stang.
And William was yelling
at Tom Datre,
and ultimately sees Mark,
and goes after Mark.
Mark retreated into the paint room,
where he grabbed a rifle.
Your brother walked into the paint
room and approached,
made a comment about,
"What are you gonna do with that?".
He came at him.
And Mark fired one shot.
Hit him in the chest.
There was no stone left unturned in
this, I can tell you that.
It's just... an unfortunate thing.
I mean, I certainly put every effort
into this being, you know,
into this being covered
100 percent, 110 percent.
"April 1st, 1992.
Tomorrow, I have to go to court
in downtown Brooklyn,
for my first day of testimony
in the Breen case.
Mr. Boyar is expecting me
by ten o'clock.
I need to pick up my suit from the
dry cleaners before they close."
This is where William was
on April 2nd: Kings County Court.
This is where William was, April 3rd:
testifying for the prosecution.
This is where William was
on Monday, April 6th.
This is where William was
on Tuesday, April 7th.
Kings County Court,
testifying for the prosecution.
The vehicle was
released to your... to
your mom, I guess.
There was something
about somebody
from the shop following
the car home,
and... as a result of that,
on April 7th,
William returned to Super Stang.
And I think it was just, you know...
your brother was caught up
in what had happened to your mom.
I get out. Ford gets out.
I remember him going
into the yard and
somebody coming out of
the shop door,
and meeting him in the yard.
Words started getting exchanged,
and I said, "Oh, here we go."
William was arguing outside, in the yard,
with someone other than the kid
who shot him at the time?
- Correct.
- OK.
So, the person he was arguing with
was Tom Datre, Jr.
-He was sort of the owner of the shop?
And that the person who was
in the back, with the rifle...
Excuse me. His name was Mark Reilly.
He was an employee of the shop.
I read that Datre Jr. had been,
two years before that...
arrested for, essentially,
running a chop-shop out of the garage
at his parents' house.
He recruited kids,
and paid them to steal cars.
And then he chopped up the cars,
and sold... sold off the pieces.
What I'm trying to figure out is...
what happened, if anything?
What did William say,
if anything, to Tom Datre Jr.,
when they were in the yard,
outside of the garage?
You know,
he didn't make any threats.
He didn't say, "I'm gonna beat you up."
He says, "I got accepted to Police Academy
and Corrections Academy.
When I become either one,
I am telling you,
I'm going to get this place shut down."
Ford was serious about what he was saying,
but he wasn't doing anything...
anything that night,
to provoke a fight, or to get shot.
It was a conversation.
"I'm gonna do this, once I become a cop."
Then we started to walk away.
That's when Mark walked out.
He didn't look surprised.
He didn't look panicked.
He just glanced and made a U-turn,
and went back into the garage.
That's when William looked at me
and he just kind of went,
"That's the guy
that cursed out my mother."
I was like...
William turned. He didn't say anything.
He just turned and he walked.
And he got to the doorway. He made a left.
So then, we heard a pop.
"Stop! I'll shoot you! I'm scared!"
No scuffle, no fight.
William turned and was shot.
I don't understand the self-defense,
because there were options.
There had to be a back
door to the place.
He could have went
that way.
I'm sure some door had a
lock behind it.
Even when they say,
"This happened a month ago,"
or "He was afraid," or
this and that...
OK, so a month ago, you
were afraid.
If that even was the
truth that night.
And after leaving...
the Grand Jury,
I kind of got in the car,
and I kind of knew... what they were at.
I didn't know if it would work,
but I strongly felt
that everything was being made
to present a case of...
"Mark was scared.
He did what he did because he was scared."
"Gunshot wound of the right chest.
Hemorrhagic wound track,
perforating right chest wall,
mediastinum, heart, left lung,
and left chest wall.
Front to back,
right to left and downward.
Deformed, non-jacketed,
small caliber bullet recovered.
There is no evidence of gunpowder
stippling or soot deposition
on the skin around the wound."
There is no evidence
of close range firing.
How do you measure
the distance of reasonable fear?
What are the
contours of fear?
What do your eyes tell you?
Do you see my brother?
Dredge the river
and you will find him.
Or someone who could have been him.
So you tell me,
whose fear is reasonable?
"The body is cold,
and rigor is present and fixed to
an equal degree in all extremities.
There is an earring hole
in the left earlobe.
No tattoos or needle tracks
are observed.
The irides are brown,
the cornea are cloudy,
the conjunctivae are unremarkable.
The liver is unremarkable.
The kidneys are unremarkable.
The heart...
is unremarkable."
I looked at... the Grand Jury.
I looked around.
I saw who was paying attention.
How could you come to a viable decision,
if you're reading a magazine,
if you're doing a crossword puzzle,
if you're talking with somebody?
I think serving on a jury,
and particularly a Grand Jury,
is one of the greatest... privileges
of citizenship in this country.
And you shouldn't take it that way,
based on race, creed or color.
You should judge the content
of the evidence presented.
My feelings were
that they just didn't give a damn.
And if I die today,
tomorrow or the next day,
I will die believing
that they didn't care,
because my son was a young man of color.
I will always believe that. Always.
Until the day I die.
It was election day and...
four o'clock in the morning,
the phone rings.
I knew because of the time
that something was wrong.
And there was this...
one day,
before she was in a coma,
where I thought that she was trying
to pull herself up in bed.
And I had given her my right hand,
to, you know...
I had offered my right hand,
for her to grasp with her right hand.
And I thought she was trying
to pull herself up.
And really she was trying
to pull me toward her.
it took me a good five minutes
to realize that...
I was trying to make my mother
more comfortable in bed,
and what she wanted was for me to hug her.
You stumble out of the
garage and into the yard,
where you fall.
You lie on the ground,
hole in your chest,
another in your lung.
You feel the pain and know you
will never see your sisters again.
Your mother. Your father.
You wonder how
your family will survive this.
You realize
that you will not survive this.
You realize you starved yourself
for 32 days, for nothing.
You lie on the ground,
bullet through your heart.
You can't speak, and no
one speaks to you.
You do not know your death
may, in fact,
be the actual death
of our family.
You do not know
that we are silent in our grief,
even with one another.
You do not know your killer will say
he had to shoot you.
You do not know your killer
will make you out to be a monster.
Mark Reilly will make you out
to be a monster,
and people will believe him.
You do not realize
that there will be no trial.
You don't know
that 23 white people will decide
no crime has even been committed.
You realize there may be no Heaven.
There may only be the ground.
Let's have some fun
You only live but once
And when you're dead, you're done
So let the good times roll
I said, let the good times roll
I don't care if you're young or old
You ought to get together
Let the good times roll
Don't sit there mumbling
Talking trash
If you want to have a ball You've
got to go out and spend some cash
And let the good times roll, now
I'm talking about the good times
Well, it makes no difference
Whether you're young or old
All you've got to do is get together
Let the good times roll
Hey, you all, tell everybody
Ray Charles is in town
I got a dollar and a quarter
And I'm just ringing the clock
But don't let no female
play me cheap
I've got 50 cents more
Than I'm gonna keep
So let the good times roll
I tell you all I'm gonna let
The good times roll now
Well, it don't make no difference
If you're young or old
All you've got to do is get together
Let the good times roll
Yeah, no matter whether
Rainy weather
If you want to have a ball
You got to get yourself together
Oh, get yourself under control
Let the good times roll