Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Police frame boxer
For murder while the bad guys
Get away with it.

The story of the wrongful imprisonment of middleweight boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter is well known to many younger people because of the Norman Jewison film starring Denzel Washington as Carter. Dylan's version, which opened the 1976 album "Desire," remains well known long after the events took place. It's not a work of journalism -- there are omissions and elisions, but it still had the effect of telling the world about Carter's wrongful imprisonment.

A short reminder:
Carter was charged with a triple murder at a bar and grill in Patersonm, New Jersey in 1966 and sent to jail. A second trial produced a guilty verdict and a sentence of two consecutive life terms. In 1985, a judge ruled that Carter did not receive a fair trial, and that racism was to blame. The prosecution in 1988 declined to seek a third trial, and a Superior Court judge dropped the charges. 

Dramatis personae:
Hurricane Carter: boxer
Patty Valentine: witness
Bartender: dead in pool of blood
Two other bodies: also shot. One turns out to be not quite dead. He refuses to ID Carter.
Alfred Bello: Just robbing the register, not killing people
Arthur Dexter Bradley: Bello's partner
Judge: Hears unqualified defense witnesses (winos)
White folks: Thought Carter was a "revolutionary bum"
Black folks: Thought Carter was a "crazy n*****"
District Attorney: Liar
Jury: Complicit
Journalists: Irresponsible
Criminals: White-collar rich people who should be in jail

1 comment:

  1. Well yes another interesting analysis by Robert. When you have read enough then follow us into Bob Dykan's Music Box http://thebobdylanproject.com/Song/id/260/Hurricane and listen to all the great versions of this and every other Dylan related song.