Brenton Butler

Consider me a little late to the discussion, but for those of you who’ve never heard the name Brenton Butler, go to your netflix queue and add Murder on a Sunday Morning .  It’s an Academy Award winning documentary filmed in 2000 about the plight of a young man and his family fighting for his life after being wrongly accused of murder.

The thing that kept going through my mind was “this would never have happened to me”.  I am white.  I don’t care what kind of trouble we get into, white people will never face the kind of blatant discrimination that this family had to endure.  And in 2008 in this country–a country that African Americans can claim and have helped build with their blood, sweat, and tears–that’s still unbelievable to me.

In one way, not to turn this to a political post, but electing Barack Obama–a black man, to the highest office in the land, is perhaps a small step we can all take to give African Americans back some of the power we’ve taken over the generations.  Oh, and also elect him because he’s brilliant.  And he’s the best choice.  He’s not perfect.  He’s a politician–which will set him up for unimaginable scrutiny.  But this is not about Mr. Obama.  This is about Mr. Butler.

The film–the story, is heartbreaking–watching Brent and his parents suffer through 6 months in jail while they fight against the sheriffs who fabricated story after story in order to frame someone, any skinny, black man–and Brent happened to be the one to walk past a police car that day.

These men are still law enforcement officials in Florida.  Another crime in itself.

This movie haunted my dreams after I saw it.  Enough so that I looked up what happened to Brenton Butler.  The family settled out of court for a measly $775,000.  Again, black family.  A white family would have gotten 10 million.  Brenton is now at Fordham.  And he plays basketball.  And he wins.  Perhaps things will now turn around that’s a metaphor for this young man and his family.  And I hope, Brenton, where ever you are happy!  (AND studying law!  And I hope you and your family have found some peace and moved on.  You all deserve it.

July 12th,2008:Thanks Lori, from Jacksonville.  For setting me straight.  The Brenton Butler at Fordham is not the Brenton Butler who is the subject of the movie.


8 Responses to “Brenton Butler”

  1. I read about this documentary on and had it sent to my libary and if i tell you i cryed and cryed and then i got mad as hell, i watch this dvd four times so far and will watch it again tonight and will tell everyone i come in contact with about this as i,m telling everyone about myself you see, i have been falsely accused and convicted and given a third degree feleony THEY SAID I BEAT UP A WHITE WOMAN IN BROAD DAYLIGHT AT A BANK??????? so you are right this sort of thing would not happen to a white person, i wonder when will black people go back to the old civil rights days. And GET UP STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS.

  2. In your website you talk about Brenton Butler and what he went thru in Jacksonville FL. You then post a photo of who you claim to be Brenton playing basektball at Fordham. The person in the photo is not the same Brenton Butler from Jacksonville. Brenton never went to Fordham. You have a different Brenton.

  3. Hi, there i have just watch a translated french documentary, The process (i dont know if it’s the good word) of Brenton Butller, and i wish to contact Brenton butler by email or something like that, i would to i want congratualte him, for his fierce and courage during the proccess, i have benn very touched by the video documentary and drop a tears on my knees, this is not in my habit.

    Please if you know a way to contact him, please tell me

  4. I´m sorry but my english is not got enaugh to express my inner feelings because of this documantation.
    I would like to write a e-mail to Mr. Butler, is this possible?
    Thanking you for your answer.

  5. I am sorry to let you in on a dirty secret, but the system is so corrupt now, that yes it can and does happen to white men. The Nifong’s of the world are plentiful and powerful. My son has been in the system for 9 years. 7 years in the state pen and 10 more just to get another board hearing. Our family is middle class, even upper middle class and we were powerless and impotent in a battle with the system. My son in his early twenties, had a small party with a married woman separated from her husband and two other friends. It’s not pretty but they got drunk and high and had sex. All our money spent to defend him couldn’t fight the system. He will spend more time in prison than murderers for a he said she said consentual sex case.
    The system is the mill and we are the grist and the millers don’t care who they grind up as long as it keeps their jobs and positions safe.

  6. Ngeh Albert Ngala/Helle Andersen Says:

    Brenton ,i am really really shocked.I am writing from denmark together with my wife who is also a danish girl.She cried all night long when we watch this documentary:she told me ooh God may your mighty hands bless Brenton throughout his entire life and so that this will act as an eye opener to all the people of the world.Brenton your geatness shall remain.Thanks to your lovely parents , your lawyer and God chosen withnesses for their unbeatable support.Long life wishes.Alberto and Helle

  7. Brenton Butler’s story is one that constantly reminds one of the United States as a parody of good and evil, white and black, rich and the poor, justice and injustice.

    Let’s analyze it this way, a white woman who brutally murdered in cold blood, a black young man was arrested as a suspect in the heinous crime. A black cop was brought to roughen up and coerce confession out of the poor black boy.

    The story gets interesting here because, it was n’t a team of black lawyers, nor black investigator that fought for Brenton. It was a team of white lawyers, and white investigators that were there for Brenton. Even when the world was down on Brenton, the white lawyer took up for him, not so much because the lawyer is a public defender, rather, because the white lawyer believed in Brenton’s innocence, hence, Breton’s cause became the team of white lawyers’ cause.

    Who says The United States of America is not great? God bless America!

  8. Hi!!
    I’m embarrassed after reading the above emails. I just saw this documentary yesterday in BBC4 after a long day at work. I have to say that it’s disgusting what the detectives did to this boy. This shows me once more what ‘black’ means to the authorities. Hope Mr. Butler has moved on. I wish he and his family the best in life from the bottom of my heart.


    P.D. Apologise on behalf of our society

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