American Violet Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the American Violet script is here for all you fans of the Alfre Woodard and Will Patton movie. This puppy is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of the movie to get the dialogue. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and all that jazz, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. At least you'll have some American Violet quotes (or even a monologue or two) to annoy your coworkers with in the meantime, right?

And swing on back to Drew's Script-O-Rama afterwards -- because reading is good for your noodle. Better than Farmville, anyway.

American Violet Script

- Come on, sleepy head.

You've got 15 minutes.

Wake up, wake up, wake up.

I'm not hearing you.

[Children speaking indistinctly]

[Gun cocks]

- Good morning, gentlemen.

- Morning.

- There you go.

Eat it all up.

- Mama, Sharonda
wants peanut butter.

- You finish your cereal?

Okay, go ahead.

You talkin'
for your sister.

Sharonda got a mouth.

All right.



Oh, come on, baby.

It's all right.

Oh, calm your nerves, baby.

It ain't nothing
but an old jar.

- All right, guys,
let's mount up.

Let's look sharp and be safe,

- Good morning, Sheriff.

How are you?

- Morning, Commander.

- Morning, boss.
- How you doing?

- Ready to rock.

- Yeah.
Your men here?

- They're right here,
ready to go.

- Good, I got 28 names
on this list.

- Pick it up, pick it up.

We got to get
to grandma's house.

Running late.
Come on.

Come on now.

Fix your sister's shirt.

Now, watch yourself.

Where you at, Sherice?

- Hey, Dee.

- Hey, Gladys.

Come on.
Come on.

Go to grandma.

Bye, y'all.
- Bye.

I love you, Mommy.
- Bye, baby.

- Good morning, glories.
Come on.

- Hey, Mama.
- Hey, girl.

Come on up here.

got y'all some grits.

- All right,
you guys behave in there.

- The core campaign is counting
on liberal interest groups,

especially those
on environmental fronts,

to warn their constituencies
Bush could win.

- Another apparently warm day
for November,

with temperatures topping out
in the mid 60s.

Traffic on the southbound continues to be slow

due to roadwork near exits.

[Horn blares]

- George W. Bush hammers
on his charge that Al Gore... - 

- Morning, Ben.

Some coffee?

- Please.
Thanks, Dee.

- As a uniter in chief.

- He scares the elderly
for political gain.

- Good morning.

How you doing now?
Want some coffee?

- Yes, please.

- Did you get your hair done?

- Sure did.

- It looks good.

We get a hair show
this weekend.

Texas championship,
grand prize: $5,000.

- You going
with Lavosha again?

- Mm-hmm.

We've been
practicing for months.

I'm hoping to win enough
to start up at junior college.

- Oh, good luck
to you, honey.

- Thank you.

Thank you.
I'll be right back.

[Helicopter blades whirring]

- Mobile units
on the way.

- Roger that.

- Grandma,
can I go see Andres?

- Mm-hmm.

take him my good bowl there.

Hold it with both hands.

My grandma gave me that
from Alabama.

- Bye-bye, Grandma.

- Bye-bye.

- All units in position.

- Go on your command.

- Go, go, go.

- Go, come on,


- On your knees!

- On your knees!

[People yelling]

- Police!

On the ground!

- Stay here.

No, stay here.



Come here, girl!

[Bowl shatters]


Sherice, baby,
it's okay.

Come here.

- We got one
jumping the east fence.

- Roger that.

- Huh!

[People struggling]

- Hold up!

- Stay right here.

[Helicopter blades whirring]


- The Gore campaign calls it
the closing argument.

The vice president laid out
what he believes

is the best case
for a Gore presidency.

- Yo, Dee,
can I get a refill?

- Sure thing, Julie.

Don't need
anything else?

- No.

- Are you Dee Roberts?

Dee Roberts?

- Excuse me.
What did I do?

Will you tell me
what I did?

- What's going on?

- What did I do?
You got to tell me.

- Dee?

- I think... - I think
it's my parking tickets.

I'm sorry, Doreen.

- Parking tickets?
This is ridiculous.

I'll pay
the parking tickets.

- Just back away, ma'am.

- I said,
"I'll pay the parking tickets."

- I said,
"Step away, ma'am."

[Siren wails]

[Radio chatter]

- We got Roberts,
and we're inbound.

- Roger that.

[Metal door clanging]

- Dee?

- Gladys?
- You kidding me.

All of us
in this tiny shit hole?

[Door slams]

- Uh, when do I
get my phone call?

I got to call my kids.



- They was
running like cockroaches

from a burning torch.

- No one figured
on the U-Hauls.

You would've loved it.

Surprised 'em all.

- Beckett
still using the helicopter?

- Of course.
He loves that thing, man.

Scares the shit out of 'em.

- Mm.

You know, you been watching
too many cop shows.

You know that?

Anybody get hurt?

- No.

Got some bruises.
That's about it.

Nothing serious.

- Hey, Mama.
- Hey.

- How you doing?

- I'm fine.

- How are the girls?

- You know, the raid scared 'em,
but they all right.

Dee, you ain't done nothing

to get all caught up
in this mess, have you?

I mean, somebody said
that they was looking for you.

- Mama, you know I don't have
nothing to do with that.

- I know that.
I know.

- It's my parking tickets.

I got $782.

- $782?

Good Lord.


Hell, you can buy a car
for that much money.

- I know, Mama.

I'm sorry.

Mama, I'm scared in here.

Can you help me
out of here?

I'll pay you back.
I promise.

- When you
seeing the judge?

- Tomorrow morning.

- Tomorrow.

I'll find it,

I guess, you know...

- Thank you, Mama.


Um, tell the girls
that I will be there tomorrow.

I love you.

- I love you.

Don't worry, girl.

- Bye.

[Dial tone]

[Train bell dinging]

[Train horn blares]

- Does the county have
a recommendation on bail,

Mr. Beckett?

- The county sees Mr. LeRay
as a flight risk, Your Honor.

We'd like bail
to be set at $50,000.

- So ordered.

- Mr. LeRay, the court
appoints Mr. David Higgins

as your lawyer,

sets bail at $50,000,

schedules a preliminary hearing
on your case for March 23rd.

[Gavel pounds]

- There's your mother.

- Are you Ms. Dee Roberts?

- Yes, sir.

- Are you aware
of the charges

that are being
brought against you

by Harmon County,
Miss Roberts?

- I think I'm here
for my parking tickets.

- Miss Roberts, you're charged
with distributing narcotics

in a school zone.

- Is that correct,
Mr. Beckett?

- It is, Your Honor.

- That can't be right.

I never had
anything to do with drugs.

- I take that
as a not guilty plea.

Can you afford an attorney,
Miss Roberts?

- No, sir.

- Does the county have
a recommendation on bail,

Mr. Beckett?

- Well, selling drugs
in a school zone

is a very serious charge,
Your Honor.

County recommends bail

at $70,000.

- Miss Roberts,
the court appoints

Mr. David Higgins
as your lawyer,

sets bail at $70,000,

schedules a preliminary hearing
on your case for March 23rd.

[Gavel pounds]

- Diane,
get down from there.

- And hurry up.

- Alma.
- Hey, Darrell.

- Heard about Dee.

Figured I'd better
come get the girls.

- Hi, Daddy.

- Guess what I got.

- He's got candy.

[Horn honks]
- Hey!

- Hey, come on.

Let's get out of here.

Come on.
We go bye-bye.

We going bye-bye.

- You know Dee got custody.

- Dee's in jail.

- She ain't staying.

- That's not what I hear.

- Hello, Miss Roberts.

I'm David Higgins,

the lawyer
appointed by Judge Pryor

to represent you.

And this is Robert Foster,
assistant district attorney.

- Miss Roberts, you've been
indicted by a grand jury

as a drug dealer.

And the district attorney's

been gathering information
for months.

He has a very strong case.

- There must be
some kind of mistake.

- Miss Roberts, I would
advise you to be silent.

Mr. Foster's job
is to build a case against you.

- You can ask anyone.

I don't have
anything to do with drugs.

- Miss Roberts,
you're only hurting yourself.

Mr. Foster, were drugs found
on Miss Robert's person

when she was arrested?

- Apparently not.

- At her place of work?

In her home?

Does she have any record
as a drug dealer?

- The Harmon County
Drug Task Force

has conducted an extremely
impressive operation.

It convinced the DA.

It convinced
the grand jury.

And frankly, David,
if you saw it,

it'd convince you.

- Miss Roberts,
how many children do you have?

- Four.

Sherice is eight,
Sharonda's five,

Laquisha's four,
Tanya's two.

But I never done any drugs,

and I wouldn't... - 

- Mr. Foster,

could I speak with you alone
for a minute, please?

- Certainly.

[Indecipherable speech]

- Miss Roberts, you have
a very talented lawyer.

And against my better judgment,

he has convinced me
to offer you a plea bargain.

- Miss Roberts,
despite what Mr. Foster

believes to be
the strength of his case,

because your record
is relatively clean

and due to the nature... - 

- And because of the age
and the needs of your children.

- He's prepared
to offer you a plea.

- If you plead guilty

to felony possession
with intent to distribute,

you can go home today

with a ten-year
suspended sentence

and a small fine.

- But I never sold any drugs.

- Then post bail.
We'll set a court date.

- $70,000?

Or you can stay in jail
and await your pretrial hearing

end of March.

- That's almost six months.

I can't do that.

What am I gonna do
about my kids?

- I'm sorry the burden
your behavior has imposed

on your children,
Miss Roberts.

That is why I'm prepared
to offer you a plea.

But be under no doubt,

if you don't take the plea,

we will prosecute you to
the fullest extent of the law.

Good-bye, David.

- What's he mean by
"the fullest extent of the law"?

- 16 to 25 years.

[Toilet flushing]

- Be careful the shit you hear
from the public defender.

- Mm-hmm.

- Did he tell you,
if you plea, you a felon?

- No more food stamps,

no AFDC,
no welfare,

no Medicare
for you or your kids,

never again.

- Can't get a job.

Can't vote.

You girls
in the project?

Then they throw you out.

That's government housing.

-  Mm, mm, mm, mm 

 Mm, mm, mm 

[somber piano music]


 Mm, hm, mm 

 Mm, hm, mm 

 Mm, hm, mm 

 Mm, mm-mm 


 Mm, mm 

- I don't want to be late.

[Knocking on door]

[Ioud hip-hop music playing]

[Knocking on door]

- Who's out there?

- Miss Alma Roberts.

I came to get
my granddaughters for church.

- Yay.

[Child crying]

- Are they ready?

Oh, come on, baby.

Don't push her.

Come on, sweetie.

Come here, pumpkin.

[Child crying]

- Her diaper is full.

- She ain't bothered by it.

- I'm bothered by it.

- It bothers you,
you change it.

- I'll come by
when I want them back.

- That's great.

that's just great.

Come on, y'all.

-  Glory 

-  Glory 

-  Glory 

 Our Lord 

- You don't think
she might've been

mixed up with drugs,
do you?

- Heck no.

Dee ain't no angel, but
she sure ain't no drug dealer.

- Sherice is fighting.
- What?

- Grandma,
Sherice is fighting.

- What's going on?
Come here.

- Let go!

- Cut that out!

Don't you push her!


Acting like that
in your Sunday clothes.

Quit it!
Stop it!

- Come on.
Stop that this instant.

- Hey, hey.

- This is what the Lord expects
from you on the Sabbath?

Sherice, Chantrelle,
what's wrong?

- She grabbed me.

- 'Cause you called my mama
a drug dealer.

- Your mama
is a drug dealer.

- Oh, oh, wait a minute!

- Stop that now.

- Come on,
not another word

from either one of you,
not another word.

Did y'all
see this here?

Y'all see this here?

This thing done tricked down
to the children.

Now, I wonder
where they got that from?

Half of our congregation

is in trouble with the law,

some that did wrong
and some that didn't.



I want you...

- Lord, have mercy.

- Thanks, Gladys.

- Dee Roberts.

- How I look?

- You look great.

- Thanks.

- Dee?

- Ten minutes.

- There she is.
I see her.

- Hey, Mama.

- Hey,
say hi to your mama.

- Hey, babies.

- Hey, Mama.

- Do you see her?
Come here, sweetie pie.

- Ah.

- You look good, Dee.

- Look at my hair, Mama.

I am not looking good.

But look at y'all,

how pretty you are
in your Sunday dresses.

- Yeah,
we been to church.

- What happened to Sherice?

- Oh, she okay.

She just got
into a little scuffle.

- Here, let me talk to her.

- Come on, Sherice.

Come on up
so your mom can see you.

Come here.
Can you see her?

Come on up here
so you can see her.

- Hey, baby.

- Hey, Mama.

- What happened to you?

- Nothing.

- Mm-mm.

I can see
something happened.

Come on.

- They said you were
staying in here for life.

They say
we're gonna be homeless.

[Children crying]

- Everybody, calm down,
calm down.

This is all right.
It's all right.

You are not
gonna be homeless.

They crazy,
'cause your mama,

your mama's coming home.

She's coming home
real soon,

ain't you?

- Mm-hmm.

- They offer you a plea?

- I didn't do anything,

- Dee, everybody pleas,

and nobody ever's guilty.

- I'd be a convicted felon,

- You'd be home
with your girls.

- They'd throw me
out the apartment.

I'd lose my food stamps,

the money
for Sharonda's medicine.

- You gonna lose all that anyway
if you go to prison.

- Didn't you always say,
"The truth will set you free"?

- [Chuckles]

that's in the afterlife.

God care about the truth.

The DA don't
give a shit about the truth.

He'd lock niggers up
till judgment day.

- Time's up.

- Dee?

Darrell has been coming back
to get the girls.

So you think about that
when you thinking of what to do.

- He still with Claudia?

- Mm-hmm.

- Mama, don't leave the girls
alone with her.

- Dee, I am doing
the best I can.

- Mama?
- He is their daddy.

- Mama, do not leave them
alone with her.

Promise me, Mama.
- Think about that plea.

- Mama?

Mama, you know what she's done... - 

- Say bye to your mama.

- Bye, Mama.

- Bye.

- Oh, babies, bye.

- Love you.

- Bye, babies.

Bye, babies.
I love you, Mama.

- Dee!
- Bye!

- Bye, Dee.
We love you.

Come on, baby.

Let's get
out of this jail.

They love to see black folks
up in this place.

- To the desk and he said,

"You know how many times I've
been through this with you?

"I'm gonna tell you right now,
you gonna have to arrest me,

'cause I don't give a shit"...- 

- Excuse me.

Do y'all know
where I might find Judge Pryor?

[Knocking on door]

- Judge Pryor?

- Yes, Sam?

- I have someone here
who'd like to speak with you.

- Yeah, come on in.

- Appreciate it.

- And I think
the U.S. Supreme Court... - 

- We... - 
we've counted all the votes.

We counted them
on election day.

- We haven't counted them.
- The machine...

- Hey, y'all.

- Hi, Alma.

- Girl, how you doing?

- This is what
I called y'all about.

- Girl, how Dee doing?
We sure miss her.

- She... - 
she all right.

The judge say
he'll lower Dee's bail

if enough folks
sign this here.

It say you have never seened her
doing or selling drugs.

That color's
sure looking good on you, girl.

- I love it.
I love it.

- I think
I want to bump it up, though.

- Give Dee our love.

- And tell her we sure
miss her around here, okay?

- Y'all know I will.

I need you to sign.


- Listen up.
Listen to me now.

Listen to me.

Year after year,

we have endured these raids
on our community.

And I, for one,
have had enough.

So I put in a call
to my old friend

Joe Fischer
up at Baylor Law School.

Professor Fischer
has a long history

of fighting
for what's right here in Texas.

And we thank him for that.


Well, Joe didn't let us down,

'cause next thing I know,

I'm talking to a Mr. David Cohen
at the ACLU.

Mr. Cohen,
thank you.

Thank you for coming.

- Thank you, Reverend.

My associate
Byron Hill and I

appreciate your inviting us
here tonight.

What's happening in Melody is
happening all over our country.

Drug task forces
use military tactics

to terrorize poor people.

And drug laws selectively target
people of color.

Meanwhile, federal money
goes to the counties

that convict
the most people.

And plea bargains
are aggressively pushed

to hasten those convictions.

Now, can anyone guess
what percentage

of the criminal cases
in our country

are settled
by plea bargains?

Just guess.

How many folks never see
a jury of their peers?

- Half.

- 95%.

For most people, the penalties
of not taking the plea

are so frightening
that even if they're innocent,

they plead guilty.

- My son James got arrested
up in the projects.

- Uh-huh.

- Can you
help him post bail?

- The ACLU
does not post bail money.

But we do offer
legal advice

and expert testimony.

- Young man,
I'm grateful for your offer,

but I don't know
that an ACLU Yankee lawyer

can help my child
with no Texas jury.

- Look, he's here,
and he wants to help.

'Cause there ain't no way
my son gonna get a fair trial

as long as Beckett
cuts the cords.

Now, the DA wants Brian
to take an eight-year plea.

If he doesn't,
they pushing for 25 years.

- The story you're telling
is exactly why we're here.

- Our oldest boy
fought charges three years ago.

He didn't stand a chance.

He's in for 15 years.

- Yeah, yeah, something
really exciting and fun.

- [Baby talk]

- Count to 17.

- That could be fun.

Well, do you want to start it
or shall I?

- I'll start it, Big Bird.

- Okay, you start.

- One...
- Two...

- Tanya, come on, so I can
change your diaper, girl.

Come on.

- Three?
- Three!

Yeah, three!

Then we have, um...


- Come on, Tanya.
Your diaper got to be full.

- [Laughing]

- Five!

- Texas law says
a grand jury

can indict them on the word
of a single informant.

- So all I have to do
is accuse you...

- And then I can be indicted
and arrested,

and I'm told
to take the plea or else.

- And this system
is an abomination.

Poor black folks
are easy pickins.

- But we can
change the system.

We're gonna hit this DA
really hard.

- Up in the city,

a DA
may not be a big deal,

but down here,

he rules like a king.

Beckett's been the DA
for nine years.

White folks vote for him
'cause he keeps the town quiet.

Black folks...

half of 'em
are too lazy to vote,

and the other half can't vote
'cause they're felons.

I'll find you
your lead plaintiff,

but they gonna be in
for a hell of a ride.

- Roberts.

Your lawyer's here.

- You got
what I been asking for?

I really need 'em.

- You too good to wad up toilet
paper like everybody else?

Let's go.

- DA's
playing hardball with us.

He says he might
withdraw his plea offer

if you don't take it soon.

Look, I've learned a little bit
about their case.

All right,
the DA has an informant

and audio tapes
of people selling him drugs.

The informant claims
he bought crack from you.

The tapes confirm it.

And two police offers say
they witnessed the whole thing.

It's pretty strong stuff,
Miss Roberts.

- It's bullshit.


- Sam Conroy?

- Yeah.

- Hi, I'm David Cohen
with the ACLU.

Joe Fischer up at Baylor
told me I might find you here.

Do you have a second?

There's a case I'd like
to discuss with you.

- Girl, anyone that can make
Laquathia look that good

is a damn genius.

- You just jealous.

- [Chuckles]

- Gladys Williams?

Come on,
you're going home.

- Going home?

- I took the plea.

I'm sorry.

I'm just
not as strong as you are.

- Don't... - 
don't worry about it.

Gladys, you got to do
what you think is right.

So you know...

All right.

- Bye, girl.

- Say hi to my babies.

- Leona?

- Hey.

- Hey.

I got your medication.

How are you feeling?

- I'm good.

Thank you.

- [Mumbling]

- What are you reading?

You've been snortin'
and sputterin' over there

for an hour.

- Well,
this background on a case

Joe Fischer
recommended me for.

- Joe Fischer?
- Yeah.

- Well, that's flattering.

- Well, I suppose.

But what it is
is that the ACLU

is trying to sue
Calvin Beckett

and a whole lot
of other people,

including your employer,
the sheriff,

'cause of the raids
down in Melody.

They're claiming
it's a racial thing,

racial bias.

- You think it's true?

- Maybe.



But you know, racist intent
is very hard to prove.

And I mean,
I got to work down here.

I don't want to get tagged
with the ACLU people.


- So you're not
gonna do it?

- I don't know.

I don't know.


[Indecipherable speech]

- I didn't order apple pie.

I ordered tuna on rye.

The pie
rhymes with the rye.

- Oh.

[Door opens]

- Mama!

- Oh.


Come here.
Come to your mommy.

- They got me
watching Sesame Street,

and I don't like that show.

- [Laughs]

- Here's the sweetie one.

Oh, dang.

- Oh.

- That your mama?

- [Laughing]

- I told you
she was coming back.


- Where Sherice at?


You been brushing this?


Looks like it need
a little bit of a treatment.

Mind if we work on it tonight?

You been scared
I wasn't coming home?

It's okay, baby.

I'm here now, okay?

I'll never...

ever leave you again.

I won't let
anything happen to you.

All right, baby?

- Let there be no doubt,

while I strongly disagree
with the court's decision,

I accept it.

- [Clears throat]

There she is.

- Whole system's crazy, Dee.

Take the Mexicans.

No one else
will work in the kitchen.

But if you hire them,

government comes and busts
for hiring illegals.

- Doreen,
I need my job back.

- Dee, how many years
you been working here?

- Seven.

- Dee, after the police
came and got you,

they came back...


First time,
looking for drugs in your stuff.

And then a week later,

to talk to me about the papers
on my guys in the kitchen.

I can't be fighting
with the DA.

- Don't worry about it.

- Please, take it.

- Don't worry about it.
- Take it.


- Thank you.

- You're welcome.

- Um...

I'm sorry.

- Me too.

- So did you get a chance
to read the material

that I gave you?

- What do you need
local counsel for?

Doesn't the ACLU
have enough lawyers?

- We need insight
into the local justice system.

- It's simple.

The DA
decides what he wants,

the cops
go and get it for him,

and the judges
bless what they have done.

- Are you hostile toward
this case for some reason,

Mr. Conroy?

- Mr. Cohen, when Joe Fischer
recommended me to you,

did he tell you,
before I became a lawyer,

I'd been a drug cop
for ten years

and that I trained
the task force officers

you're planning on suing?

- Mr. Fischer told me
you were a man of principle,

a fair man.

Does what happened
at Arlington Springs

seem fair to you?

- Not much
seems fair to me these days,

Mr. Cohen,
so I deal in practicalities.

You're asking me to sue
everybody I ever met

for racial discrimination.

Now, you know
where we are down here?

You might as well ask me
to stick a shotgun up my ass

and blow my head off.

- Well, that's very colorful.

I apologize
for wasting your time.

- You don't
have to be sorry.

You're just doing
what you think is right,

and despite how it may look,
so am I.

But I got to live down here.

You're gonna be able to go back
where you come from.

I'm gonna ask you again.

Why do you want
local counsel?

- We intend
to file very quickly.

To handle discovery,

and a trial,

I need somebody who knows
how to navigate shit down here,

somebody to whom witnesses
and a local jury can relate.

I think we both know
that isn't me.

- [Chuckles]

Well, that's a sensible answer
there, Mr. Cohen.


Who is your plaintiff?

- Hello.
Is your mom home?

- Who's that, Sherice?

- Hi, are you Dee Roberts?

- Mm-hmm.

- Hi, I'm David Cohen
with the ACLU,

and this is Sam Conroy.

Reverend Sanders suggested
that we come talk to you.

- Reverend Sanders?



Bye, babies.

Get into Mommy's room.

Got a visitor.

Sharonda, make sure your
sisters keep quiet, all right?

All right.

- So, Miss Roberts,

what has happened to you
and others here in Melody

is simply wrong.

The ACLU wants to make sure
that it doesn't happen again.

And we plan to sue
the district attorney,

the county,

the drug task force,

and the policemen
involved in the raids.

We'd like to do it
in your name.

- Are you kidding me?

You want her to sue
Calvin Beckett?

- Yes, ma'am.

- Y'all must be
the ones doing drugs

if you think my daughter's
gonna sue the DA

and Harmon County,

- Would y'all excuse me
for a second, please?

- Huh.



Since when
did you start smoking?

- Since I spent
21 days in jail.

- I can't believe Reverend
Sanders sent them round here,

talking about sue Beckett.

You can't beat Beckett.

- I would need to.

He wants to put me in prison
for 16 years.

- Beckett
don't care nothing about you.

You take the plea,
he will leave you alone.

You stay to yourself,

he ain't gonna bother you
never again.

- Why should I
have to keep to myself?

I did not do anything.

- Dee,
it ain't always about you.

You got kids
to take care of.

- Mama, these police
been raiding these projects

since I was a kid.

Now they done
started on my kids.

Look at Sherice in there.

It scared her
half to death.

You think it's gonna stop
'cause I plead guilty?

- Excuse me.

Why is that
any of your business?

- After what
they done to me, Mama,

they made it my business.

- Dee!

Dee, wait a minute!
- No, Mama.

I want to help.
- Great.

- May I?

- Please.

- Miss Roberts,
I know Calvin Beckett.

I know him personally.

And filing this suit
against him,

it may make him
change his plans.

But more than likely,

he's gonna come after you
even harder.

He may come after you
very hard.

You need to remember that you
still have criminal charges

pending against you.

- He's right.

- [Mumbling]

He ain't gonna leave me alone
unless I plead guilty.

And I ain't doing that.


what exactly
do you need me to do?

- So why does it seem
such a hard choice, Sam?

- Well, it makes me take sides.

It'll seem kind of like
a political thing, doesn't it?

And I'm not
a political person.

You know that.

And I mean,

well, okay, I'm gonna sue
the district attorney down here.

I mean, the establishment would
be done with me, wouldn't it?

And Leona has been sick.

And we can't afford... - 

- Then why are you thinking
about doing it at all?

- Hey, did you know that
when I was in high school,

I was in West Louisiana,

and used to work
at a town pool out there?

And blacks and whites were just
beginning to swim together.

The idea wasn't very popular
with anybody at that time.

And one afternoon,

I was out there,

and there were
two blacks in the pool,

and there was one black man
in the shower room.

It was in the pool house

where I was mopping down
the floor in there.

And this white man
comes in and he says,

"Sam, get out of here."

And I said,
"Well, I work here.

I'm mopping up the floor.
What do you"...- 

And he said,
"Get the hell out of here."

And I said,
"I can't do that.

I'm not finished
mopping up."

And he pulled out
a tire iron and said,

"Boy, you get your ass
out of here right now."

And I did.

And as I'm running out,

all these men
come running in.

They're carrying metal rods,
sticks, pipes.

And as I'm running out,
I heard, you know,

the sound...

And, um...

man died that night.

Couple weeks later,

the FBI
came to my house.

And they wanted to know
what I'd seen.

- What did you tell them?

- I didn't say anything.

I knew
who those men were,

and I didn't say anything.

- Lavosha.

- Hey, Dee, girl.

Baby, how you doing?

It's so good to see you.

- Mm, I'm...


- There.

A whole new you.

- Wow, thank you, Vosha.

I promise,
when I get a new job...

- Mm-mm.

Don't worry about it.
It's on me, honey.


- Thank you so much.

- Aw, sweetie.

- This is good.

- Yeah.

- Okay.

Well, okay.

Well, it's nice to meet you,
Miss Roberts.

Do you think you could
start next Monday?

- Can I start sooner?

- We're just gonna do
a background check first.

You know, arrest record
and all that stuff.

But it shouldn't take long.

- It was nice to meet you.

- Nice to meet you.

- No.

- Look...

- No, we're not hiring
at the moment.


- I'm a hard worker.

You won't
have to pay me much.

- I'm sorry.

- I'll do dishes,
bus tables, anything.

- No.
- Come on.

- I said no.

- [Speaking over intercom]

Combo special,
number 23.

- [Speaking Spanish]

Here, everybody
has to do everything:

Clean the bathrooms,

scrub the dishes,

and go to the warehouse
to get supplies.


- That's all right for me.

- It's minimum wage,
no benefits.

- That's okay.

- [Speaking Spanish]

All right,
we'll try it for a month.

- Thank you.

I'll do a good job.

You'll see.

Look what I got.
- Mama!

- [Laughing]

Look what I got.

- Christmas tree!

We got a Christmas tree!

- We got a Christmas tree!

Who's gonna help me decorate?

Who's gonna help me decorate?

- Me!

- The whole truth
and nothing but the truth,

so help you God?

- I do.

- Mr. Porter,

on August the 14th, did you buy
drugs from the defendant?

- Yes.

- And did anyone
witness this?

- Yes.

Well, no... - 
not exactly.

I recorded it
on a tape recorder

that the police
had gave me.

Are you sure
there were drugs?

- Yes.

- How are you sure?

- Well, I taste them.

And when I brought them
to the police,

they put them
on a little piece of glass

and put the stuff on it
and it turned... - 

- Mr. Porter,
thank you.

That'll be all for now.

- Mr. Porter, have you ever been
in a mental institution?

- Objection, Your Honor,
this is... - 

- Overruled.

- Mr. Porter,
I repeat,

have you ever been
in a mental institution?

- Yes.

- And who sent you there?

- He did.

- Mr. Beckett?

- Yes.

- And were you afraid... - 

- I guess we just found
our first deposition.

- Your Honor,
I move we recess for lunch.

- Court is adjourned
until 1:00 p.m.

- Well, hey, Sam.

- Hello, Calvin.

How are you?

- Calvin Beckett.
I don't believe I know you.

You visiting?

- David Cohen.
I'm gonna be here for a while.

- Well, I'll be
seeing you around.

- I look forward to that.

[Train horn blares]

- Hey, Mama.

Hey, Grace.

- Hello, sweetie.

- What you
doing here so soon?

I wasn't expecting you.
Everything all right?

- Yeah, everything's okay.
Where's Sherice at?

- She at basketball.

- Where the girls at?


- That's their daddy, Dee.

Here, watch her
for a minute.


That's their daddy!


Grace, get the girls' bag.


Wait a minute!

- Darrell, bring my girls
out here right now!

- Dee!

[Pounding on door]

- Darrell,
I know you hear me!


- Better for you
to stay with your daddy.

Your mama going back
to jail soon.

- Claudia.

- She gonna be gone
for a real long time.

- Claudia, you so much
as lay a hand on my girl... - 

- Yeah, what you gonna do, huh?

I got Laquisha in my arms
right now, Dee!

Holding her tight.

- I'm gonna kill you!
Open this damn door!

- Holding her tight.

- Yeah, she's out of control.

Apartment 213.
She's here right now.

Hey, hey, hey, hey!

- Darrell, if you do not bring
my children out here right now... - 

- Hold it now!

- Oh.

- Dee, wait!


Dee Roberts,
they will throw your butt

back in jail in a heartbeat.

- You let him take them!

You let me
get them back!

- You best
listen to your mama, Dee.

- Uh-huh.

- You know
what friends I got.

Police gonna be here
in a minute.

You better stay away
from my truck, though.

- I want my girls!

- All right,
now get off that truck.

You know
I need that for work.

Damn it!
Are you out your God damn mind?

- I said I want my girls,

- Get off my truck!

- Dee!

- Come on now, Dee.
You know you can't do... - 

- I'm counting to three!

I want my damn kids back!

- Knock that shit off!

You better not.

- Two!
- Dee, cool yourself.

- Three!

Come on, Darrell!
Come on!

I want my damn kids!

- Dee!

- Stop!

- Goddamn it!

[Siren whoops]

- I want my damn kids.

Come on!

- Dee, get off that truck!

- I want my girls.

- You scaring them kids.
Come here.

- Go on and take 'em.

Take 'em!

- Don't cry, baby.
Baby, I'm sorry.

Come here, baby.

- I'm just
trying to protect them

from your
insane bullshit anyway.

- What?

Look at my Goddamn truck.

- You know the drill,
Miss Alma.

- Look at this shit.
- Come on.

- You don't
have to cuff her.

- Get my girls
out of here.

- I got 'em.

Dee, I'm gonna
come and get you.

- It's not like I won't
have 'em back soon anyway.


- Your mother told Darrell she'd
fix his car

if he dropped the charges.

Did she tell you that Claudia's
an accused child molester?

- No one can blame you
for protecting your girls.

But destroying Darrell's car
just wasn't smart.

- Worked, didn't it?

- Dee, we get
hundreds of letters every week

from people who need help,

people, frankly,
just as deserving as you.

We have the resources for
one major case on this issue,

and I chose you.

I need you
to stay out of trouble.

Can you do that?

Thank you.

- 35,000 thousand people
at eight official balls

hang between
$100 and $200 a pop.

- I don't know him that well,

but I know him well enough
to say I know him...

- Hello, Dee.
- Hello.

- Have a seat.

- Congratulations.

You made the paper.

- Yeah, lucky me.

- I just spoke
to David Higgins.

He should be here
any minute.

Did he listen
to that tape with you?

- Right there in jail.

Wasn't nothing
but a lot of crackling

and some men arguing.

Not a woman's voice
on the tape.

- Oh, speak of the devil.

Hello, David.

Have a seat.

I think you know Dee.

David Cohen,
David Higgins.

- I'm here
because of George Bush...

- I just can't find it.

- Are you telling me
you lost the tape?

- Well, did you call the DA
about a copy?

- It seems theirs
is missing too.

- Okay,
what about the arrest warrant

that Dee gave you?

- Well, I'm sure we'll
find it sooner or later.

- Oh, come on, David.

You can't really expect us
to believe this bullshit.

- Well, I don't really care what
you believe.

- Mr. Higgins,
at the very least,

you're guilty
of gross dereliction

of your responsibilities.

And you may
very well be guilty

of criminal obstruction
of justice.

- You be very careful
what you say, Mr. Cohen.

As Sam can tell you,
down here,

you make enemies for life.

Miss Roberts, let me
give you some free advice.

You take the plea.

You do a little time
on probation,

and you go back
to your family in peace.

Be careful
you don't get sent away

just so some
self-important asshole

can play civil rights lawyer.

- Well, that went well.

[Knocking on door]

- I'll get it.

- Hi.

Is your mommy here?

Would you
tell her that Mr. Moss

from Child
Protective Services is here.

[Camera clicks]

Miss Roberts, our office has
received a number of complaints

from the girls' father,
a Mr. Darrell Hughes.

He claims you're negligent
and abusive.

- Do you see them,
Mr. Moss?

Do they look abused?

- Well, that's what
we're here to evaluate.

Here is your notice
for a custody hearing

before the district attorney.

- Calvin!

- Calvin, care to comment
on the jury's decision?

- The jury made a mistake.

Mr. Green should
never have been acquitted.

I'm convinced he's guilty,
and he should be in jail.

- Did the ACLU lawsuit
have anything to do

with your decision
to drop the charges

against the other defendants?

- Look, since the jury
made clear today

that they do not consider
Mr. Porter a credible witness,

I'm forced to drop the charges
against everyone we arrested

in the sweep in Melody.

Make no mistake,

I'm certain everyone
was guilty as sin.

Just can't prove it...

this time.

- What about the people
who already pled guilty?

- What about them?

They pled guilty.

They're guilty.

- Is there gonna be...
- Calvin!

- Dee, that's great news.

- Mm.

But he said I'm guilty.

- Doesn't matter
what he said.

The charges are dropped.

- What you think, David?

- Well, it's good news for you.

And your suit
and the jury's verdict

have forced Beckett
to change his plans.

But the system
isn't changing.

He could raid
Arlington Springs tomorrow

and start
all over again.

He's not even
throwing out the convictions

of people like Gladys,

who pled guilty
under duress.

- Excuse me.

What does this
have to do with Dee?

- She filed the case
against Beckett.

If she quits,
the case is over.

- So you expect her
to keep going?

What you think?

- If Dee wants to drop the case,
now's the time to do it.

But what David's saying is true.

Beckett's not gonna change.

The system's
not gonna change.

- Y'all crazy.

Dee got a custody hearing
in front of this man.

- Would y'all please stop
talking about "Dee"

like I'm not here?

I don't know.

- Dee?

There's a lot riding on this,

but it's your family,

your life.

This has
got to be your decision.

I'm your lawyer.

I'll do what you want.

- Hello, Miss Roberts.

- Hello, sir.

- Cisco around?

- He's in the kitchen.

- Hey, Cisco,
how are you?

- Nice to meet you.

Hey, Dee.

[Door opens]

- [Stammers]


[Knocking on window]

So they just up
and threw you out?

- [Coughs]

That's the law.

Didn't think
it would happen,

but it did.

- Gladys,
you can stay with me.

I got a little bedroom.

- Thank you.

It wouldn't work anyhow.

They'd just throw you out too
if they catch you.


- Gladys.

- [Crying]

- Our case has been assigned
to Judge C.W. Belmont.

He's as strict law and order
as they come.

Hasn't ruled against the police
in over 15 years.

- How many times has Beckett
appeared before him?

- At least a dozen times
in the last five years alone.

- Then he's conflicted.

We move
for a change of venue.

- That's never gonna happen.


Beckett knows the system.

Belmont getting this case
is no accident.

We gonna have to win this thing
before it ever goes to trial.

- Uh.

They came
in the middle of the night,

two of them.


One of them
put a gun to my head,

told me I was
a worthless piece of shit

and scum like me
deserved to die.

I just laid there
and took it.

The next day, they took me over
to Mr. Beckett's office,

and I was real ready
to cooperate.

- Mr. Porter,
what happened

after you were taken
to Mr. Beckett's office?

- He told me about,

that I know
I could get 60 years and...

he was real tired
of seeing me.

So he was gonna watch for my
no-good drug-head ass family.

- So he threatened you
and your family with jail terms?

- Yes.

- Did he threaten you
with bodily harm?

- He told me
he'd make a phone call

and get the biggest-dicked
son of a bitch he could find... - 

excuse my language, y'all,
but these his exact words:

"I'm gonna get you locked up,

"and I'm gonna
make a phone call

"and get the biggest-dicked
son of a bitch I can find

to screw you every day for the
rest of your natural born life."

- Those were his exact words?

- That was his words to me,

- Are you uncomfortable,
Mr. Porter?

- Well, I said
I didn't want him here.

- Who are you
referring to?

- Him.

- Let the record show

that Mr. Porter has pointed
at Calvin Beckett.

- I'm always
gonna be here, Eddie.

That's my rag.

I ain't going anywhere.

- I was given
a list of names.

- By Beckett?

- Yeah.

He had them
right there.

- Mr. Porter, was Dee Roberts'
name on the list

the DA gave you?

- Uh, I don't remember.

- Oh, come on, Mr. Porter.

Did you put Dee Roberts'
name down as a drug dealer

because your cousin Claudia
asked you to?

- L-l-I can't remember.

- But you do know
who Claudia is, right?


She's... - 
she lives with Darrell Hughes.

- I know her.
She my cousin, yeah.

- Boy, did you put
Dee Roberts' name down

because your cousin Claudia
asked you to or not?

- I don't know.

Look, all they needed
was five more names,

and they didn't care
who they was.

- Mr. Porter,
my name is Mark Shelby.

Mr. Porter, generally, would you
say that you tell the truth?

- I try to,

unless I feel
like I'm in danger

or I got to protect myself.

- Mm-hmm.

And were you telling the truth

when you testified under oath
at the Green trial?

'Cause the truth
you're telling today

is not exactly the same truth
you were telling back then.

- So I'm just trying to figure
out what about today's truth

is true.

- Well,
he had me locked up then.

He could've did anything
he wanted to do to me.

And now I got to do
what's right,

'cause the truth
will set you free.

- Which truth
we talking about,

the truth you told before
or the truth you're telling now?

'Cause I'm
a little confused by all that.

Mr. Porter,

you ever had
any mental problems?

- Yeah.

- Could you tell me
what type?

- I was diagnosed
with paranoid schizophrenia,

and I can't remember
the other one.

- That's all right,
Mr. Porter.

That's probably enough.

Now, you understand that we're
embroiled in a lawsuit here.

And these plaintiffs
are seeking damages.

And if these
allegations are proven,

a lot of police officers,
some good men,

not being
police officers anymore.

- Is there going to be an end
to this cascade of rhetoric?

- I'm just trying to determine
if Mr. Porter here

truly comprehends
the seriousness

of these allegations,

that were brought forth

by a paranoid schizophrenic

that can't remember
what else he is.

- I understand the seriousness
of this whole situation.

I understand the seriousness
of people being incarcerated.

I understand the seriousness
of people's lives

being changed forever
and affected.

I understand the seriousness

of not being able
to sleep good at night

'cause you worried about
somebody coming to your house

and harming you
or your family members.

I understand a lot.

And I know my life
will never be the same.

- They'll destroy
Porter on the stand.

- Well, we need to turn his
unreliability back against them.

- We need a change in venue.

- The motion is denied.

- But the district attorney

has appeared
before you 16 times.

Surely a change in venue would
result in a fairer trial.

- The motion
has been denied.

Is there something
about the word "denied"

that you don't understand,

- No, Your Honor.

- Good.

- Did you hold a gun
to Eddie Porter's head

and threaten
to kill him

if he didn't help you
with your drug cases?

- No.

- Did you
give him crack cocaine...

- No.

- So he could make
drug buys for you?

- Absolutely not.

- Did you suspect
he was using drugs?

- No.

- Did you test him?

- No.

- You think Eddie Porter
is mentally stable?

- Objection.

My client's
not a psychiatrist.

- You go ahead
and answer the question.

- I still can't believe
you're doing this.

- Well, here I am.

Now please
answer the question.

- Look,
I can answer any question

y'all want to throw at me, okay?

Just 'cause
I didn't go to law school

doesn't mean shit.

Eddie Porter is crazier
than a $3 bill, okay?

He wouldn't know
which way the sky was

unless I pointed him
up to it.

The shit that boy did... - 

I mean, I had to walk him
through every single step

every time.

- Then why'd you trust him
as a confidential informant?

- Mr. Arnold,
you were a combined

county drug task force commander
in November of 2000,

were you not?

- Yes.

- Was the drug task force
racist in its design?

- Absolutely not.

- I'd like to enter this
as exhibit 5.

It comes
from your files.

And it's dated a month before
the raid at Arlington Springs.

Are those the folks
whom you arrested that day?

- Most of them.

- Do you know them?

- Most of them.

- Could you tell us
each person's race?

- Black... - 

African American.

don't know,

black, black,
black, black.

I believe black.

Black, don't know,

gonna assume black,

black, black,

assume black again,

black, black,
black, black,

black, black, black,
don't know,


- Mr. Lloyd,
I warned you last time.

- What?

He ain't fit
to take the kids.

All right, the first chance
he has to go to a bar,

he'll leave
their ass hungry.

- True, but I'm not gonna leave
the children with you either.

They're gonna have to go
to a group home.

- Look, I got a house.

They belong
with their mama.

- Miss Lloyd?
- What?

- This is not a debate society.

You're done here.

- Those are my kids.

They belong
with their mama.

- Thank you very much.

- Next case.
- Here you are, sir.

- Hughes versus Roberts.

- Dee.

- She's violent.

She's abusive.

Just last month,

she was arrested
for a criminal attack.

- The attack
was on his truck

because he kidnapped my girls.

- Well, they my children too.

- I've never
abandoned my daughters.

I was in jail, and I left them
with their grandmother,

my mother,
who's an excellent caregiver.

- Well, Miss Roberts,
you do seem to have

a rich and varied
relationship with the law.

Larceny, criminal attack,

repeated disturbances
of the peace.

- You mean where I'm screaming
'cause he's beating me?

- An arrest for selling drugs
in a school zone.

- Those charges
have been dropped.

- Mm.

One can see
why Mr. Hughes is concerned.

- If he is so concerned,

maybe he should make some
of his child support payments.

- I do pay child... - 

it's called "child support"
not "Dee support."

I pay for my children.

- Or stop seeing a woman

who's been convicted
for child molesting.

- All right, now,
you know that's not true.

Mr. Hughes, if I want
any more input from you,

I will ask for it.

You seem to have a point,
Miss Roberts.

Perhaps these girls shouldn't be
with Mr. Hughes either.

Unfit parents are why the state
has homes for children,

after all.

- I am not
an unfit mother.

Now, if you want to hurt me
because I'm suing you,

go ahead and do it.

But so help me God,
if you hurt my children...

I'm not an unfit mother.

- [Sighs]

- I have a report here
from CPS Inspector Moss.


Based on that, I am leaving
the children with you for now.

But, Miss Roberts,

do not assume that I will be
so lenient next time.

Next case.

- Do you think
it will help?

- Help?

- The lawsuit.

Will it really help?

- Will it... - 

An African-American man
has a better chance

of being charged for a crime
than graduating college.

The system
is so fundamentally broken...

Oh, God,
I don't know.


I think it'll help.

I hope it'll help.

Are you ready for tomorrow?

- I'll be fine.

Thank you.

- I should be thanking you.

I don't...

I don't know how you have
the strength to keep going.

- I had help.

- All right.

Shall we?

- Miss Roberts,
do you have a job?

- No.

- Are you currently
seeking employment?

- Yes.

But it's hard
because of the drug thing.

- So you have
no source of income?

- But my mama's
helping me out.

- Sounds to me like
you could use some money.

I bet a big, old, fat settlement
check from my clients

would come in handy,
wouldn't it?

What do you think, Gus?

- Objection.

Is that a question?

- [Chuckles]

I knew that was coming.

Speaking of that drug thing,

you'd been arrested before,
hadn't you,

and since.

- Yes.

- Now, it seems to me that
the more you do something,

the more used to it
you get,

the less stressful
it should become.

- Oh, come on, Mark.
What are you do... - 

are you asking a question,

or is this a monologue?

- Just an observation, Sam.

Tell me about
your first arrest.

- It was for theft.

It was a very long time ago.

- You were guilty?

- Well, yes, but... - 
- You were guilty.

So your second arrest,

that was for selling drugs
in a school zone.

We know all about that,
don't we?

- Those charges
were dropped.

- What about
this most recent arrest?

Tell me about that.

- It was for criminal mischief.

I busted up Darrell's truck

so he would give me
my girls back.

- You were guilty
of that one too?

- Those charges
were dropped.

- But you were guilty.
- Objection.

Mr. Shelby,
this is not a court of law,

and you're not a judge.

- Uh, who's this guy Darrell?

- Darrell Hughes,
he's the father

of my two youngest kids.

- But I thought
you had four children.

- I do have four children.

- The oldest two
have different fathers.

- Fathers,
like plural?

- [Laughs]
Damn, woman.

How many different men
have you had sex with

in the past eight years, huh?

- Objection!

- You okay?

- Uh-huh.

Seen better days.

- Well, you're doing good.

Remember, they're just as afraid
of you as you are of them.

- [Sighs]

- All right, let's get back
to these multiple fathers

we were talking about
before the break.

Now, we know about
Darrell Hughes,

but what can you tell me
about the other two?

Where do they
currently reside?

- They in prison.

- Both of them?

- Mm-hmm.

- Why?
What were they convicted of?

- You know,
I believe drugs.

- Drugs.

What kind of drugs?

- Cocaine.

- Cocaine.
Crack cocaine?

Would you mind
repeating that for the record?

- Crack cocaine.

- That's the same drug that you
were arrested for dealing,

was it not?

- Well, I didn't do that.

- Yeah, so you say.
- Objection!

Miss Roberts
is not on trial here.

- Well, Counselor,
forgive me,

but I'm just having a tough time
trying to understand

why it is that this arrest
has caused Miss Roberts

so much mental duress.

I mean, it seems to me
like she and her whole family

have been in
and out of jails and prisons

and police stations
her whole life long.

So what is it
about this particular arrest

that is so different?

- Mr. Shelby... - 

- I'll tell you what
made this arrest so different.

I've only spent
one night in jail before this.

I was 16 years old,

was arrested for stealing
diapers and milk for my babies.

I did it.
They kept me for one night.

I knew
I was getting right out.

To be locked up
for 21 days

away from my girls

not knowing if I was gonna
get out to see them again,

21 days in a cage...

I may not
have all your schooling,

but it seems
pretty different to me.

- Judge Belmont
has decided

that Beckett only has to answer
our questions for three hours.

Any more time would be
wasting the DA's time.

- We knew he was gonna
give him a lot of room.

- Dee, it is atrocious after
what they've put you through.

- Mr. Hill,

if you were Beckett's lawyer,
what would you do?

- Uh...

I'd destroy Porter's credibility
right from the start.

I mean, he's nuts.

Nothing he says
can be believed,

and he's our
only source of information

as to what really went on.

I'd argue that having the police
rely on him as an informant

was a mistake
but an honest one.

- All right,
what about the numbers?

All white cops,
all black targets.

- Coincidence.

It's a result of the drug
they chose to go after,

crack cocaine.

Feds target it.
Why can't the task force?

And, Dee,
I'd go after you.

I mean,
really work on you,

suggest that you're
just a desperate crack mother

trying to score
a monetary judgment

by playing the race card

against a hardworking group
of public servants.

The police
made some mistakes.

They have a tough job.

they'll make mistakes.

They're only human.

Should we really punish them
for trying to protect us?

- Well, there you have it.

It'll work too.

We'll never
get anywhere with Belmont

by criticizing the cops.

We have to prove that Beckett
was motivated by racist intent.

- How can you prove
racist intent?

- You look
at a person's history.

You interview his coworkers,
his family,

people who know him well.

But we've tried everyone.

No one is gonna
say anything about Beckett.

- There's Julie's car.

She's a regular
at the coffee shop.

Thank you, Julie.

- It's about time
somebody said something.

- Just a second now.

- Okay?

- We're good.

- Are you ready,
Mrs. Beckett?

- Yes.

- All right,

now, this one's gonna be
a little bit harder.

- Used fractions...

[pounding on door]

- Come on, it's me!

Open up the door, Dee.

I know you in there.
Come on.

[Pounding on door]

- Darrell, go home.

- Dee, open the door.

Come on.

[Pounding on door]

- Stop knocking on my door,
come on.

Stay there, Sherice.

- Hey.

- You drunk.

- I came
to get the girls.

They need
their father too.

- Look, you heard
what the man said.

They need
to be with their mother.

Mm-mm. Go home.
Good night.

- Come on now,
listen to me.

Look, think about it.
Hear me out.

If we got back together,

then they could have us both.

- Mm-mm.

No, we been through this
already, Darrell.

- It won't be like that.

- Darrell, go home.

- Come on!

Don't come into my... - 

Go to your room, Sherice!

Get to your room right now.

- Give me
two seconds to talk!

Give me my girls!

- 2-4... - 
- Go ahead, call 'em.

I don't care.

Come on, man,
we're getting out of here.

- Please come
as soon as you can.

It's an emergency.

Darrell, please!

- Let's go.
- Don't do this, Darrell.

- Come on,
get out my way!

- I'm not... - 
- Get off me!

- Stop it!
Get out my house!

- Hey, have you lost
your Goddamned mind?

- Mama!
- Put that baby down!

- What you gonna
do with that?

- I will knock you out.

- Well, hell,
old lady, swing!

- Come on,
step into it.

- What you gonna
do with that, huh?

- I'm gonna
knock your head off!

- Go ahead, go ahead!

- Your girls
are looking at you, Darrell.

- I wish you would.
- Go ahead, swing!

- I'll knock you out,

- Get off me!

- You know Beckett
ain't gonna charge me!

You know Beckett
ain't gonna charge me!

You know Beckett
ain't gonna charge me, Dee.

I'll be back!

- Come on.

- I know.

I know, sweetie.

I'm here with you.

I'm here with you.

- Hey.

- I'm here with you.

- Come on, Dee.

All right,
here we go.

- So sorry I'm late.

Had a rough night.

- It's all right.
Sam's already there.

- You okay, Dee?

- I'm fine.


I have an idea.

[Engine turns]

- Three hours, Sam.

The judge said
you get three hours with me.

Nine minutes is over.

- [Mumbles]

- Sam, there's no need
to be uncivil, is there?

After all,
we used to be friends.

We still have to be together
for 2 hours and 50 minutes.

- Sorry we're late.

Mr. Beckett, you're aware
that the videotape we're taping

will become part
of the public record?

I'm gonna
take your silence as assent.

Before we begin,
Mr. Beckett,

I'd like
to introduce my associate,

Mr. Byron Hill.

Mr. Hill will be
conducting your deposition.

- Good morning.

Mr. Beckett,
is it your regular practice

to indict someone based on
the word of a single informant?

- Regular practice
all across Texas.

- And is it also your practice
to give the informant

a list of people
you want to find guilty?

- Objection.

Question assumes my client
gave such a list.

- Mr. Beckett, do you frequently
use informants

with a history of...

mental instability?

- We use informants
that know the drug dealers.

This list rarely
includes Baptist preachers,

Jewish rabbis,

or wise-ass lawyers.

- Please mark this
as exhibit 5.

- Mr. Beckett, these are
your drug arrest records

for the past five years.

Now, Harmony County
is less than half black.

Why do you think over 85%
of the task force arrests

are of black people?

- Must be that it's them
doing all the drugs.

40 minutes left, boy.

- Mr. Beckett,

even black people
can tell time.


You don't mind
if I call you that, do you?

You seem to have a problem
with us black people.

- Objection.

- To what?
That wasn't even a question.

- You ever call
blacks "niggers"?

Answer the question.

Answer the question.

Mr. Beckett,
you are under oath,

and you have
an obligation to respond.

- I don't remember.

- You never said it?

- I don't remember
ever saying it.

- What's your relationship like
with your ex-wife?

- Don't have
any kind of relationship.

What the hell
kind of a question is that?

- She seems to have a better
memory than you do, Calvin.

- My name
is Elizabeth Beckett.

And I'm competent
to testify therein.

- How'd your ex-husband feel
about black people?

- Oh, he hated them.

Calvin hated them.

He even hated the children.

If they came in our yard,

he'd go out there
and scream at them.

- You think his views
affect his behavior as a DA?

- He thought
that people wanted convictions.

He thought that
the feds wanted convictions.

Calvin would say that,

"Who better to convict
than the lazy-ass niggers?"

- He referred
to black people as "niggers"?

- Yes.

Yes, he did.


- Now, uh,
you remember her, right?


That's your ex-wife.

You want to see
what your daughter has to say,

or has your memory returned?

Let's see what
your daughter has to say.

- My name is Julie Beckett.

I'm 22, and I'm competent
to testify herein.

- Right, okay, Julie,

did your father ever express any
hostility toward black people?

- Oh, yeah, never even
tried to hide it, you know?

Him and Jerry Arnold,

they would, like, sit around
and drink beers and shit.

And they would always say,

"The only way
to save our town

is to blow
Arlington Springs up."

They would say shit like,

the nigger cockroaches burn,"

shit like that,
you know?

- So how'd he feel
when he found out

that you were
dating a black man?

- Oh, he was... - 
he was so angry,

like, crazy angry.

He started chasing me down,

He chased me down,

and he started whipping me
with his belt.

I mean, he was
just going crazy, you know,

saying shit to me like,

"You're nothing but a dirty
nigger-Ioving whore,

dirty nigger-Ioving whore,
dirty nigger-Ioving whore."

- What the fuck are you doing

when they're
over here whipping me?

- Mr. Beckett, do you ever
call blacks "niggers"?

- Oh, of course
I call them niggers,

you uppity piece of shit.

Can't think
of any folks down here

that don't
call you people niggers.

Yet race has nothing to do
with whom you prosecute as DA?

- Sam, Byron.

He practically
ordered them to settle.

There's no way
he wanted that tape

played in a Texas courtroom.

It's over.

- [Laughing]



- Oh, my goodness.

- Oh, my gosh,
we did it.


- Well?

- Let's get out of here.

- I want to go...

- Hm.

- Can you believe that?

Isn't he yours, Dee?

- They've offered to disband
the drug task force

and to give each of the accused
a small settlement.

- What about Gladys?

- She's no longer a felon,

so she can move back
into Arlington Springs.

- And our arrest records?

- Expunged.

- And Beckett?

- Dee, we did
everything we could.

will have to face the voters.

But that's the best
we could do.

The judge was firm on that,

that Beckett's future
be decided by the voters.

- Will this stop the raids?

- I think so.

I really think so.

[Radio chatter]

- Sam?

- Yeah.

- Is everything all right?

- Yeah, yeah.

Everything's all right.

- Now, in our congregation,

there is a woman
that has struggled

and suffered

and prevailed,

not just for herself

but for us all.

Now, I'm gonna have
to call out Dee Roberts.

Dee Roberts,

I'm asking you
to stand up

and accept
our warmest thanks.

Come on, y'all.

[Cheers and applause]


-  I wish
I knew how it would feel 

 to be free 

 I wish I could break 

 all the chains
holding me 

 I wish I could say 

 all the things
that I should say 

 Say 'em loud 

 Say 'em clear 

 for the whole
round world to hear 

 I wish I could share 

 All the love
that's in my heart 

 Remove all the bars 

 that keep us apart 

 I wish you could know 

 what it means
to be me 

 Then you'd see
and agree 

 that it ever man
should be free 

 I wish I could give 

 all I'm longing to give 

 I wish I could relive 

 like I'm longing to live 

 I wish I could do 

 all the things
that I can do 

 Though I'm way overdue 

 I'd be starting anew 

 Well, I wish I could be 

 like a bird
in the sky 

 How sweet it would be 

 if I found
I could fly 

 Oh, I'd soar
to the sun 

 and look down
at the sea 

 Then I'd sing
'cause I know, yeah 

 not sing
'cause I'm known, yeah 

 Then I'd sing
'cause I know 

 I know how it feels 

 Oh, I know
how it feels 

 to be free 

 Yeah, yeah 

 I know how it feels 

 Yes, I know,
oh, I know 

 how it feels 

 how it feels 

 to be free 

 Lord, Lord, Lord 

[foreboding instrumental music]


[woman vocalizing]


Special thanks to SergeiK.