'Crown Heights' is a pretty good movie about a great subject: the sheer backbreaking labor necessary to force the system to even acknowledge a terrible injustice, much less make it right. Written and directed by, the film retells the story of Colin Warner (“” star Lakeith Stanfield), a Brooklyn man from a Trinidadian family whose life as a burglar and car thief was interrupted by a 20-year stint in prison for a crime that nobody, including the officers who arrested him, thinks he committed. The story begins on April 10, 1980, when Colin Warner is arrested in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.
He thinks he's been busted for stealing a car. The cops inform him that he's being charged with shooting and killing a local Jamaican teenager named Mark Hamilton in the nearby neighborhood of Flatbush. Colin tells him he's innocent. It's not that they don't believe him; they just don't care. Somebody has to go to jail for the crime, and it's going to be Colin. He's on the hook because he has a criminal record and a witness was coerced into picking his photo out of a book of mugshots. The witness, a frightened young teenager (), recants his testimony on the stand, but it doesn't matter.
Turner is sentenced to 15 years to life, with a possibility of early release if he expresses remorse for a crime he did not commit. Up until this point, Ruskin's film is compelling but unremarkable.