65 minutes | Apr 13, 2021

White Boy Rick: A Call for a Better American Justice System

Richard Wershe, Jr, aka White Boy Rick, is the subject of a true-crime documentary that recently landed on Netflix. Shawn Rech, the award-winning director and producer of White Boy (2017), joins us to talk about the tragic circumstances surrounding White Boy Rick's over-30-year incarceration for a nonviolent offence. Shawn is well-known for creating documentaries that help to overturn wrongful convictions or over-sentencing. White Boy tells the story of Richard, who was an FBI informant as a child and an alleged cocaine kingpin in Detroit in the 1980s. Richard received a life sentence despite being just 17 years old. The film looks at his case, shining a stark light onto 1980s Detroit and the American justice system. We talk about the White Boy Rick's reputation, who he really was, and the racism and unjust laws that allowed a child to be groomed by the FBI.  “Don’t always trust the government, and don’t always trust the media. Do your own investigating and vet your sources.” - Shawn Rech Time Stamps: 00:15 - The trailer for the documentary White Boy. 03:00 - Why White Boy has only just come out on Netflix in the US.05:41 - The reputation of Richard Wershe, Jr and the reality of who he was. 08:14 - What Detroit was like in the 1980s and how corrupt it was. 10:05 - The racist nature of the accusations surrounding Richard.14:23 - The FBI operation ‘Backbone’ that was deliberately quashed. 17:41 - The unjust laws and sentencing surrounding crack cocaine convictions. 21:15 - The draconian sentencing Richard received as a juvenile. 24:14 - What’s happened to Richard since the documentary released in 2017. 28:30 - The hitman that confessed to 30 murders but received a light sentence. 31:20 - What it was like when hitman Nathaniel Boone Craft turned up to the screening. 36:32 - The fictional film that was based on Richard’s life. 38:52 - What the role of documentaries is with regards to the criminal justice system. 40:28 - The documentary Shawn is making about Making a Murderer. 50:31 - Why it took Netflix so long to license White Boy. 53:15 - Why Shawn advocates for self-distribution. 59:13 - The way you can get rich in the documentary film business. 1:00:19 - White Boy's legacy and what Shawn is working on now.   Resources:White Boy (2017)  A Murder in the Park (2014) Convicting a Murderer American Gospel: Christ Alone (2018) Careers in Film   This Is Distorted  Alamo Pictures Connect with Shawn Rech: Facebook Twitter Connect with Factual America: Facebook Instagram Twitter   Connect with Matthew Sherwood: Facebook LinkedIn Twitter   More From Factual America: Murder Among The Mormons: The Mark Hoffman Story Moment of Truth: The Murder of Michael Jordan's Father MLK/FBI: America on a Collision Course
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