Jury Box in the historic Mohave County Courthouse, Kingman, Arizona

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'13' Documentary Played at Court House

September 14, 2018 - 9:41 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - We know crime is a life-and-death problem in this city. There's a pipeline of young black men getting in trouble and going to prison.

To learn how it all started, and perhaps act as a deterrent, the Netflix documentary '13' was screened at the Carnahan Courthouse last night.

Sankofa Unity Center organized the screening at the encouragement of Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.

“All of our kids get caught up in the system, every day, and I’m sure you report on it all the time. Every day, someone in the black community dies because of some kind of violent attack, because of guns, something, and it has to stop,” says Program Manager Avis McHugh.

McHugh says they showed the film in a courtroom to turn that place from one of fear and punishment into one of education and support

“Just the way that people get caught up in the system and not being able to have the lawyer support that they need or just not being able to have the flexibility of breaking the law without getting an extreme sentence for it,” she says.

Sankofa is organizing a march tomorrow downtown at 5 p.m. called "Black Men Step Up."  Sankofa CEO Darren Seals says purpose, work, is what can help break the path so many are on.

“When you’re young and you can’t get a job, when you’re struggling, you go out and do petty crimes when you’re young, that’s what teenagers do. This kid didn’t want to get in trouble. It’s the neighborhoods, when you grow up in the neighborhoods, you become part of your environment,” he says.

Circuit Attorney Gardner was not available to answer questions while we were there.  Seals credits her work on what he calls "stay-out plans" for youth who get in trouble.