In the Land of the Free | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

In the Land of the Free 

A new documentary examines injustice with the prison system

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Among the most contentious recent criminal cases in Louisiana -- perhaps in all the South -- is that of the Angola Three: three Black Panthers incarcerated for the brutal murder of a white corrections officer in 1972. Though evidence implicating all three men was shaky at best, they were confined for decades to McDonald's-bathroom-sized solitary-confinement cells for 23 hours per day. In 2001, one of those men, Robert Hillary King, was released. Confined under the mere suspicion of participating in the murder, he was never formally charged; moreover, when the murder took place, King was in another prison, 150 miles away. King now advocates for the release of Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace, who are still in lockup; he travels the world contending that the Angola Three were political prisoners, and that in the U.S., speaking truth to power "can get you locked up for good." King visits Pittsburgh with this Samuel L. Jackson-narrated documentary delving into the complex web of accusations against the Angola Three. As both civil and criminal appeals on Woodfox and Wallace's behalf work their way through the courts, King advocates for prisoners everywhere. "Prisons today are the same conditions as slavery," he says. "Prisoners are being used as a way to make sure that if you protest -- if you don't conform to an injustice -- then prison is for you. And no matter how much I've been through, I just can't accept that as justice."

7 p.m. Sun, Sept. 18 (Big Idea Cooperative Bookstore & Café, 4812 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield). Free.

7 p.m. Tue., Sept. 20 (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, 616 N. Highland Ave., East Liberty). Free.

5 p.m. Wed., Sept. 21 (Barco Law Building, Pitt campus, 3900 Forbes Ave., Oakland). Free.



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