2 Mar 2019

A boxer's murder conviction overturned: 'The Hurricane Tapes'

From The Podcast Hour, 12:20 pm on 2 March 2019
The Hurricane Tapes logo (Supplied)

The Hurricane Tapes logo (Supplied) Photo: Supplied

Early in the morning of Friday June the 17th 1966, two African-American men walked into the Lafayette Bar and Grill in Paterson, New Jersey and shot four white people, killing three of them.

Rising professional middleweight boxer Rubin Carter and his friend John Artis were picked up by police shortly afterwards and convicted of the killings, with Carter spending 18 years in prison before being cleared and freed.  

Bob Dylan protested his innocence in the song 'Hurricane' and there was also a 1999 Hollywood film called The Hurricane, starring Denzil Washington.

Carter himself died back in 2014, but in 'The Hurricane Tapes' sports reporter Steve Crossman and producer Joel Hammer try to get the true story using a treasure trove of 40 hours of old, previously unheard interviews of Carter speaking about the case.

This old scratchy audio, and interviews with just about everyone involved- police, the victims' families, and Carter's contemporaries- tell the twisting, compelling story of the case, and of the sometimes less than heroic Hurricane.

We speak to Steve Crossman about he managed to get hold of all those tapes, and play an excerpt from Episode 1 "The Making of Rubin Carter" (produced by Joel Hammer for the BBC World Service).