Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–…): Season 15, Episode 3 - American Tragedy - full transcript

A celebrity Southern chef shoots and kills a teenage African-American boy that she thought was a serial rapist. But was her life in danger, or was she just an over-reactive racist?

In the criminal justice system,
sexually based offenses

are considered
especially heinous.

In New York City,
the dedicated detectives

who investigate
these vicious felonies

are members of an elite squad

known as
the Special victims Unit.

These are their stories.

So the man who attacked you
was black?



About six-foot.

And what was he wearing?

A hoodie
and a baseball cap.

He's black, tall,

in his 20s.

- And he followed you?
- Yeah.

He was right behind me.

I barely saw his face.

I walked faster

and put my key in my door.

But he was right there.

Did he say anything to you?

He said,
"I know you want it."

Then he pushed me
into my doorway,

threw me to the ground,

said he had a gun.

Did you see a gun?

I felt it against my back.

Then he raped me.

And he used a condom?


Do you mean there's no way

that you can prove
it was him?

We'll get him.

Two upper West Side vics,

both single white women over 40,
raped in their doorways.

Their attacker's
young, black, male.

Six-foot, wears a hoodie
and a baseball cap.

- Well, that narrows it down.
- They were push-ins.

He said he had a gun,
said, "I know you want it."

No extra points
for originality.

No, but I think
we're looking at a serial.

Same m.O., same verbiage.

I think we need a sketch artist
down here now.



We've already spent
enough overtime

on those missing girls.

We'll do it first thing
in the morning.

Get some rest.

Both of you.

[Dog barks in distance]

[Distant sirens wail]

Hey, gorgeous.

What's the matter?
You gonna smile for me?


[Breathes heavily]


I'm sorry.


Law & Order: SVU
15x03 - American Tragedy

- sync and corrections by Zac -
- -

Guys says stuff like that to
me all the time and I just...

I went off on him?

I'm a New York City cop.

I can't go around
beating people up.

Remember what we talked
about last session?

Yes, how I was upset
that Lewis got the drop on me,

how I should've reached
for my gun.

But this is different.

This wasn't Lewis.

No, I hear you
beating yourself up.

First for under-reacting
to Lewis,

now for overreacting
to this guy.

I can't get anything right.
I'm all over the place.

"All over the place."

If a crime victim said that
to detective Olivia Benson,

less than three months
after an assault,

what would you say to her?

I'd say
that survivors can experience

a wide range of reactions,

from stress to fear
to numbness.

- Depression, anger, flashbacks?
- All of the above.

- Have you ever known someone
to take a self-defense course

or to obtain a gun or resolve
never to be a victim again?

Of course.

So you might see
this kind of overreaction

to be emotionally triggered,

and you might tell her
that over time,

she'll recognize those triggers

and temper her responses.


And what if she doesn't
believe me?

Well, then you might
ask her to forgive herself

and remember she's going
through a process

and that healing takes time.

This sketch is useless.

It's a start, fin.

And we're checking traffic cams
on riverside drive.

Any forensics on this guy?

No DNA on either vic.

He used a condom,
left no traces.

He sounds like a pro.

Any recently released
sex offenders?

None that match the sketch.

But the lab did get a hit
on the condom lubricant.

It's a brand called
sultan ecstasy.

Sold in every bodega
in the city.

Hey, sorry I'm late.

You're allowed, Liv.

Please don't say that.

This sketch is useless.

That's what I said.

You never know.
Give it a shot.

Alert the media,
the neighborhood,

and maybe we'll catch
a break.

It's too late.

Can you describe him?

He was African-American...

In a hoodie.

When I got to my front door,

he put a gun against my back,

"I know you want it."

You saw the gun?

I felt it.

He pulled up my skirt,

threw me face down
on the floor while he...

Put on a condom.

He raped me.

I begged him to stop,

but he just started
beating me.

Okay, everybody.
Listen up.

We're looking for a serial
on the upper West Side.

All three rapes occurred

within a half a mile
within each other

between the hours
of 10:00 and 1:00.

- The suspect's
a six-foot black male,

wears a hoodie and a cap.

Follows single women home,
pushes his way in.

He's escalating.
He's getting more violent.

We need every block covered.

Buildings, storefronts,
bus stops.

There's a tip line set up,
number's on the flyer.

He may be carrying
sultan ecstasy condoms.

He may be armed.
You know the drill.

250s, 250s, 250s.

till we get this guy.

[Indistinct radio chatter]

How long
this gonna take, man?

You late for the opera?

I already got a cop-and-feel from one
of you people this afternoon.

Good, then you know
what comes next.

- Live around here, Homey?
- Close enough, man.

Got any I.D.?

I don't have to give
you that.

How about you put
your hands up?

What do you want?

[Indistinct radio chatter]


It's a nicely rolled blunt.

Party tonight?

[Gunshot in distance]

[Sirens wail]

Drop the gun!

Put the gun down now!

- Drop it!
- He was attacking me!

[Gun clatters]
Hands up.

See your hands.
Step back.

Step back, ma'am.

Put your hands up
and step back.

Back up.

I got a pulse.

Put a rush on a bus.

Riverside and 87th street.

victim appears likely.

He was following me.
He was gonna rape me.

Suspect's Mehcad Carter,
he's 16,

he was shot once
in the chest by the vic.

He's still in surgery,
his parents are on the way.

- 16? Did he have a gun?
- No.

We recovered a cell phone
from his pocket.

Well, what about the victim?

Ms. Jolene Castille,
the celebrity chef.

She told us that she shot him
in self-defense.

Is this kid our serial?

Similar M.O. and description.

We're waiting on an I.D.
From the other vics.

The parents...

I know they're worried
about their son,

but find out what he was doing
in that neighborhood.

Mr. and Mrs. Carter.

How did our son get shot?

We're trying to sort
that out now.

He's a good kid.

- Never any trouble.
- I-I want to see Mehcad.

Well, he's still in surgery.

We've actually like to ask
you some questions

while you wait.

I don't understand.

My boy's been shot.

Who did it?


I told you.

He tried to rape me.

Okay, so...

Why don't we start
at the beginning?

Well, I was on my way ho
from a benefit.

My driver pulled over to let me
walk on the Avenue.

I just wanted some fresh air.

And when did you first see
the suspect?

When I turned on my street.

He was just following me.

He had on a dark hoodie,
exactly what's on the poster.

So, then what happened?

I asked him what he wanted.

He didn't answer.

He just kept coming.

I went through
my brownstone gate,

and he did too.

I said, "get back, go back."

- Did he respond?
- No.

He had his hand in his pocket.

I thought he had a gun.
So I pulled out my pistol.

A Smith & Wesson .38.

Yes, I have a carry permit.

I pointed my gun at him
and yelled,

"stop! Get back!"

But he just kept coming.
He lunged.

He assaulted you physically?

No, he didn't get a chance to.

I was terrified.
I knew he was gonna rape me.

I shot him once to stop him.

It was horrible.

I've never shot a person before.

Ms. Castille,

the boy you shot is
in critical condition.

The boy?

But he will recover,
won't he?

Oh, God.

I had to do it.
I had no choice.

This woman claims our son
was threatening her?

That's not possible.

You live in Harlem?
Do you have any idea

why he was
in the West 80s at 10:30?

Probably walking home.

He plays basketball down
near the boat basin.

It's about three miles.
That's a long walk.

Well, he usually takes
the subway or the m5.

And Mehcad does live with you?

Of course he does.
He's 16.

Is he home most nights?

During the school year,
he's home studying.

In the summer, it's...

Right, he was playing
basketball tonight.

How about last night, Monday?

Yes. He... he went out.

And Saturday?


Can you tell us what time
he got home those nights?

Wh-what are you saying?

We... we saw on the news those
other women were raped.

Are... are you thinking
it was Mehcad?

We have her version.

We're just starting
our investigation.

Absolutely not.

My son's an honor student.
He's not a rapist.

And if that wo...

If she's saying Mehcad tried
to rape her,

she's lying.

This woman shot our son
in cold blood.

You need to arrest her.

My boy... he didn't do this.

He's her
in the same hospital?

We don't know if it's him.

And there's a police guard
outside the icu.

I can see the press
outside my window.

They won't talk to you.
Don't worry.

It's just...

If you feel up to it,

there's some photos
I'd like you to look at.

Okay, but you have him,
don't you?

I'm sorry.

It was dark.
I didn't see his face clearly.

I'm just not positive.
It's okay.

All right,
we'll be in touch.



No go.

Bethenny couldn't make the I.D.

Chloe picked Mehcad's photo
out right away.

So did Aubrey.

Okay, we've got
two vic I.D.S,

one vic shoots him
in the act,

but there's no gun
on the suspect?

None of the other women saw
the gun.

Whatever he threatened them
with was hidden.

Well, probably
the same pocketed cell phone

he threatened Jolene with.

Find anything on
that cell phone?

The usual messages
about hooking up, hanging out.

But the GPS puts him
in the West 80s

every night that rapist hit.

Anyone think
that's a coincidence?

His parents say
that he went downtown

to Riverside Park
summer nights

to play basketball.

And they can't or won't confirm
what time he got home.

Does he have a record?

No, he's an honor student.
Church choir.

And everybody who knows him
says he's a good kid.

We've all heard
that one before.

It's amazing how much trouble
these honor students get into.

Does Jolene Castille's story
hold up?

She did sound genuinely

I mean, I know
that he's only 16,

but he is six-foot.

She shouts, "stop!"
He doesn't. Bang.

He was wearing earbuds.

He stalked her, right?

Empty street, it was dark.

I believe that she was in fear
for her life.

A rich, white celebrity shoots
a black teenager.

The papers are already hailing
her as the ragin' cajun.

Let's just make sure this kid
is the rapist.

Thank you so much
for coming in, Ms. Castille.

Mr. Cohen.

I hear you've I.D.'D
Mehcad Carter

as the West Side rapist.

Yeah, detectives are working
the case... Julie.

I was shocked
to hear he's only 16.

He seemed so much older.

You were close enough
to see his face?


And when you first
saw the suspect,

- he was following you?
- Yes.

I asked him what he wanted.
He didn't say a word.

Just kept coming.

Faster I walked,
the faster he walked.

When did you tell him
to get back?

Once on the street,
once at my gate.

Could you tell
if he could hear you?

He was wearing earbuds.

Hold on, hold on.

How would she know that?
He was also wearing a hoodie.

I yelled loudly.
He smiled at me.

He didn't say a word.
I felt in fear for my life.

I pulled out my revolver.

And that's
when he lunged at you?

Take your time.


He opened my gate.

I said, "get back."

He had his hand in his pocket.

I thought it was a gun.

I pulled out my revolver

and said to him,
"get back," again.

But he just kept coming.

I shot him.

Approximately how far away
was he?

Less than a yard?

Maybe one or two feet.

Hmm, a foot or two.

Close enough to see
your revolver?

Now listen.
He could've turned, left.

But he lunged.
He got shot in the chest.

Not the back.

The chest.

I'm sorry for his parents.

But I'd do it again
if I had to.

Those other women
are mistaken.

I have known Mehcad
and his family his whole life.

Do you have any video or DNA?

We're still working
the case.

That means no.

He wouldn't have
attacked anyone.

His cell puts him
in the vicinity

of all three rapes.

He was just playing

Mr. and Mrs. Carter...


I know Mehcad.

He didn't do this.

[Sobs] No!


- No!
- What?

Not my baby!

- No!
- Not my baby!


No, no!
This isn't true.

He's not dead.
He's not dead.

Oh, God.


we got one in progress.

What do we got here, Willie?

You use this gun to rape
anyone else?

I didn't rape nobody.

They wanted it.


You do too.

Don't you, bitch?

Shut up.


Let's go.

Get in the car.

This guy claimed
to live off on her.

Now is right that he's a liar.

She was screaming
'cause wanted it.

And that gun was planted.

You're on parole in Detroit.

What are you even doing here?

Got a job.
Recycling oil and lard.

Yeah? Did you collect
any oil Monday night?

You talkin' about
those West Side rapes?

[Scoffs] You won't find
my DNA there.

the papers says that boy,

you know,
the one who got shot,

he's the one who did 'em.

We got a problem here, Nick.

Go tell Barba.

Willie Smith,
level three sex offender.

Just paroled in Michigan.

The rapes fit his old M.O.

He's been sleeping at a shelter
for the last two weeks

that is within
ten blocks of each rape.

Any chance that we're
looking at a copycat?

Had to ask.

What about the two victims
who I.D.'D Mehcad?

Similar look.
And cross-race I.D.S...

So how about we bring them
back in

and see if they can I.D.
Willie in a lineup?

And if they do,
then they'll have I.D.'D

two different suspects.

That just about defines
reasonable doubt.

So you don't want us
to bring them in?

I don't know.

There's the one vic
who did not I.D. Mehcad.

Bring her in first.

Just throw out
the other two cases?

Do we have anything else
to tie him to them

other than M.O.
And cross-race I.D.S?

Willie said that
he recycles cooking oil.

And we should get CSU to check
their clothing and his

for lard, oil residue.

And if we do get a match...

Jolene may have shot
an innocent kid.

Question is,
did she know that?

Tell Warner
I need that autopsy.



It's him.

Number two. It's him.

Even though
you didn't see his face?

It's not his face.

I stared at those hands
the whole time he...

Oh, my God.

What is it, Chloe?

It wasn't the other boy.
It's him, number two.

Ugh, I can feel him on me.

Smell the oil.


Rancid oil,
like a fast food place.

My God, that poor boy
who got shot...

They were both black
and hoodies.

Please don't think
I'm a racist.

Kids can survive
incredible trauma,

but when they crump,
they crump quick.


All the vitals go South
all at once.

So we're looking
at a homicide?

Is getting shot
what killed him?


- Jolene said that she fired
in self-defense.

I can't speak to that.

But there was no fouling
or stippling on his body.

He wasn't that close to her.

Is it possible
the stippling disappeared

during surgery?
It can't.

Stippling burns into skin.

What about on the clothing?

You mean after ems,
the evidence mangling service,

cut his clothes off
through the bullet hole?

I will hunt them down
and kill them.



Jolene said that
he was a foot away.

Well, she's either
lying or confused.

Find out which one it is.

Fin, before you go
to Chez Jolene,

you might want to use
our men's room.

Come again?

My ex's nephew worked there.

When the kitchen toilet broke,

she wouldn't let "the help"

use the customer restroom.

They had to use a diner
across the street.


Summer, lunchtime.

This place is packed.

She's becoming
a damn folk hero.

Detective Benson.

How nice to see you.
Oh, hello.

This is detective Tutuola.

- Nice place.
- Thank you.

Can I get you a table?

Actually, we just have
a few questions.

Okay, let's take this
in the back.


I saw you caught
another rapist.

This new suspect
may be responsible

for all the West Side rapes.

But what about the victims
who I.D.'D my attacker?

Well, sometimes victims
could get details wrong.

They can misapprehend
the situation.

I didn't misapprehend
one iota.

That boy kept coming.
I had to shoot him.

When you fired,
how far away was he?

Close. Right on me.

This close?
Close enough to touch you?

Get your hands off me!

[Sighs] I'm sorry.

Please, I'm still
a little jumpy.

You understand.

Our M.E., she thinks
that Mehcad was farther away

than you're remembering.

Well, she wasn't there,
was she, honey?

That boy was gonna rape me.

He said,
"I know you want it."

You never told us
that before.

I wasn't comfortable
with his patois.

You think just because
you've caught a black rapist,

he's the only one?

[Crowd chanting]
No justice, no peace.

No justice, no peace.
No justice, no peace.

No justice, no peace.
No justice, no peace.

Yes, sir.

I do know what
a long, hot summer is.


[Phone beeps]
D.A. suddenly concerned?

I guess it's an election year.

No comment.


Willie Taylor.

He's good
for all the West Side rapes?

Palm oil, olive oil,
peanut oil, and lard

on Willie and the vics.

Mehcad was just a kid
in a hoodie.

Wrong place, wrong time.

Wrong skin.


Devil's advocate.

What was he doing
in that neighborhood?

His friends told us
that he lost his metrocard.

He was walking home.

Okay, then why did he
follow her to the gate?

His parents said he liked
watching the cooking channel.

Maybe he recognized Jolene,
wanted an autograph.

And Jolene, she's still
sticking to her story?

Try embellishing.

Now she's claiming
that Mehcad told her,

"you know you want it."

The day after it was leaked
to the press.

How'd she react
to the M.E. Report?

She doubled down.

Even though not one neighbor
heard her scream.

Her story's
a house of cards.

But she's just still hiding
behind self-defense.

More like a hate crime.

Look, what we saw...

This feels racially motivated.


And if it is,
she'll have a history.

Find it.

This isn't going away.

You're just afraid
of that mob.

Y'all are just burying
my ass to cover yours.

Jolene, it's their kitchen,
not yours.

And she's right.
It's a farce.

Turn to the side.

New York is just blacks,
Jews, and liberals.

The D.A. Wants their votes.

It's not the D.A.'S call,
Ms. Castille, it's mine.

Print her.

Your left hand,
please, ma'am.

Where are you from, honey?

How'd they put you up
to this charade?

Excuse me?

We both know
if we were down home,

I'd be getting a medal.

Get back. I'm coming through.

Mr. Barba, didn't Jolene have
the right to defend herself?

Everyone in New York
has the right

to walk the streets without
fearing for their life,

and that includes
16-year-old Mehcad Carter.

[Overlapping shouting]

Jolene, are you a racist?
Is that why you shot Mehcad?

Absolutely not.
I was in fear for my life.

All right,
no more questions.

Excuse us.

Did you find
any stippling or fouling

on the body of Mehcad Carter?


But Jolene Castille
told police

that she was inches away
from Mehcad when she fired.

She wasn't.

We tested the same gun
and bullets

that Ms. Castille used.

The shot that killed
Mehcad Carter was fired

from a distance
of at least five feet.

And this is not
an empty phrase.

Mehcad was truly
a choir boy.

A sweet, angelic,
evolved soul.

Never hurt anyone.

Thank you, reverend.

Nothing further.

you saw Mehcad Carter

in his Sunday best

at choir practice
and services?

I have known him
since he was four.

You've ever been out
with him at night,

with his friends,
when they've been partying?

- Well, no, but...
- Reverend...

Have you ever been surprised
by congregants

who were Sunday saints
but Saturday sinners?

Of course,
but Mehcad wasn't...

Thank you, reverend.
No further questions.

Mehcad was a fan
of Jolene's.

I think that's why
he followed her home.

Objection, your honor.


Ms. Carter, was Mehcad ever
in trouble with the law?

No. Never.

And, um,
when he left home that night,

did you see him
take anything with him?

His... his cell phone.

And his bubble gum.

Bubble gum?


I know he was tall,

but he...

He just turned 16.

He was still...

Still my boy.

I lost my little boy.


You arrested Willie Taylor
at that scene?

Yes, we then conclusively
linked him

to the three open rapes
on the West Side.

So Mehcad Carter was
no longer a suspect

in those rapes
or any other rapes?

- That is correct.
- Thank you, detective.

There's nothing further.

does Jolene Castille

fit the profile
of the rapist's other victims?


And Mehcad Carter's

The way he was dressed
and how he followed her,

does that match
the rapist's profile?

You're asking me
if he was a young, black male

on a public sidewalk?

Your honor.

Answer the question,

Um, yes,
he fit the pattern.

didn't two prior victims

identify Mehcad Carter
as their attacker?

From a photo I.D.
They later recanted.

But they did I.D. Him.,

which means SVU also believed
he was the rapist.

He was a suspect.

After we investigated further,
we realized

- that a mistake had been made.
- What? Further? When?

48 hours?

So, if SVU and two victims

that Mehcad Carter
was the rapist,

how... how could Jolene Castille,

a woman alone
on a dark street,

be expected to know

he wasn't
in the blink of an eye?

- What just happened in there?
- I'm sorry.

We were... I was wrong.

That lawyer can
just slander him like that?

I think the jury

Mehcad was not a threat.

The burden is on her
to prove self-defense.

Then you need
to go after her.

You need to make them see her
for who she really is!

- I promise that I will.
- He'll do all he can.

Jolene takes
the stand tomorrow.

She fooled you people.

You gonna
let her fool a jury?

No, no, no.

This is a show trial.

Jolene Castille
defended her life that night,

and she'll defend herself
on the stand.

Thank you.

Mr. Cohen!

[Overlapping shouting]

Jolene's deposition from
a civil suit nine years ago,

brought by five black male
kitchen employees.

hostile environment?

And wrongful termination.

She accused
the dishwashers of stealing.

"You know these field hands.

"You can't let them
into the kitchen,

they'll rob you blind."

"Field hands"?


Those statements were
legally obtained.

These are more prejudicial
than probative,

your honor, in an already
emotionally charged case.

We've been blindsided.

By your client's own words

from a civil suit in which
your firm represented her?

You care to tell me how
that rises

to the level of blindsided?

Mr. Cohen, were you unaware
of these depositions

or simply hoping the prosecution
wouldn't gain access?

They were subsequently sealed,
your honor.

So you were aware of them.

I won't allow these
to be admitted.

But if the witness opens
the door,

prosecution can question
her attitudes.

Like most chefs,
I do have a temper.

It gets hot in the kitchen,
and words get exchanged.

The next night,
we drink and laugh about it.

I love all of my employees,
black and white.

My black friends
know what's in my heart.

Thank you, Ms. Castille.

Ms. Castille, you just said
you love your black employees.

I love all my employees.

I have
a gay Chinese assistant.

Good for you.

But your black employees
are the only ones

that you refer
to as "field hands"?

Well, that was blurted out
during a moment of duress.

It's a vestige of the way
I was raised.

I meant no disrespect.

And when you denied
black employees

the use of
the dining room bathrooms,

that was also just a vestige?

Our restaurants are
about hospitality.

I have never denied
an employee

a fair working environment,

As long as they don't
serve food

to white customers
or use their bathrooms?


Mr. Barba, move on.

The first Chez Jolene
was in new Orleans.

Did you carry a gun then?

No, there was no need.

What, so you only
started carrying

a concealed gun in New York?

Why is that?
When I moved up here,

I was a public figure.
I felt more threatened.

Because New York
was less segregated

than you're used to?

I didn't say that.

But you did say
in "Les Bons Temps Magazine"...

"Nobody takes the subway
in New York unless they have to.

It's like a jungle train
through the Congo."

Everybody knows
that was just a joke.

A telling joke.

On the night
you saw Mehcad Carter,

did you see a field hand,
a jungle animal,

or just a boy trying
to make his way home?


No, I want to answer that.

I saw a hooded man
following me.

I told him to back off,
and he came through my gate.

So if it had been a white man
who was walking behind you,

would you have told him
to get back?

- Would you have pulled your gun?
- Objection.

If it was a white boy,
I wouldn't have been afraid.

So, let's be clear.

Mehcad Carter
didn't have to do anything.

He didn't have to say anything.

He just had to be a black boy
standing on your sidewalk

and that gave you
the right to shoot him?

- That's not what I said.
- Isn't it?

Nothing further.

I think I'll argue for plea.

Why? She's on the defensive.

For now.

It's still
"he said, she said,"

only this time,
the "he" is dead.

[Elevator bell dings]
Because "she" shot him.

Which means the jury
only has her side.

They're never going
to hear his.

She won't take the plea.

You didn't want me
on the stand,

how come the defense does?

Mr. Tutuola, the night
Mehcad Carter was shot

you were one of the first
officers on the scene?


You were in the neighborhood

working the case
of the West Side rapist?

That's right.

I'd like to refer to you, sir,
to defense exhibit 43.

Your 250 reports
from that night,

otherwise known as your
stop-and-frisk reports.


Now according
to your reports,

you stopped and frisked
12 men that night.

What was their race and age?

They were
all young, black males.

That was the description
of the suspect

we were looking for.

I see.

And in your experience,

is a young, black male
an unusual description

for a rape suspect?

There are all kinds
of suspects.

But isn't it true
that in New York,

black males between
the ages of 14 and 35

constitute less than 5%
of the general population,

yet commit 50% of the rapes?

- Objection.
- Withdrawn.

Would you say that the NYPD

disproportionately targets
young, black males

when conducting their
stop-and-frisk operations?

I just try and do my job.

As do we all.

And are you aware that
your own mayor is on record

as saying that the NYPD,
and I quote,

"disproportionately stops
whites too much

and minorities too little"?

I saw the story.

Do you consider yourself

against young, black males?

No, of course not.

So, on the night
in question,

when you stopped and frisked
12 young, black males,

that was not racially motivated?

Because you were
suspicious of men

who fit the profile.

So how is my client racist

for doing exactly
the same thing?

There's a huge difference
between frisking someone

and shooting someone.

So you expected her
to read him his rights?

Maybe to arraign him for,
I don't know, trespassing?

He was 16.

She had options.

Cross the street,
dial 911.

Oh, I'm... I'm sorry.

I didn't realize

you were there that night,

No further questions.

So for 48 hours,

NYPD's elite SVU unit

believed Mehcad Carter
was their rapist,

as did two prior victims.

So when Jolene Castille
told you that

if a white man
had been following her,

she wouldn't have been afraid,

she was really reacting
the same way the police do,

the same way many new yorkers...
White and black... do.

So that night, that night,

when NYPD was
"flooding the zone,"

and stopping and frisking
young, black males,

Jolene Castille, alone,

backed up against a wall,

had every reason
to fear for her life.

Because even
when she told him to stop,

Mehcad Carter just
kept coming at her.

He just kept coming.

Right at her.

Now hindsight is 20-20
because this...

I mean, this was self-defense.

And if it had been you,
or your wife,

God forbid your daughter...

You'd want her to have
the right

to protect herself.

Thank you.

- Mehcad Carter was
a 16-year-old honor student

enjoying his summer.

Singing in the church choir,
watching cooking shows on tv,

playing basketball
with his friends.

And then he forgot
his metrocard

and was embarrassed
to tell his parents.

So he chose to walk home.

That's what Mehcad was doing

on the night
he was killed.

He was heading home
to his parents.

But he never made it.

Because Jolene Castille
didn't like the way he walked,

she didn't like the way
he dressed,

she didn't like
the way he looked.

The defendant claims
that Mehcad was stalking her,

that he was going to rape her.

But how can we believe her

when she has lied about
every other detail on this case?

About his having a gun,

about what he said to her.

She even claimed
that Mehcad lunged at her,

but you heard the M.E. Testify

that Mehcad had to have been

at least five feet away
from her

when she murdered him.

In a system where it
is all of our rights

to be presumed innocent until
proven guilty,

Jolene presumed Mehcad guilty...

And became his judge,
his jury, and his executioner.

She got to go home to her
brownstone that night.

Mehcad will never go home again.


This is awkward.

Just the two of us girls.

Yeah, well, I'll get out
of your way.

I was afraid for my life.

- He was 16.
- He was six-foot tall.

And he was coming after me.

You're a cop.

You've known what it's like

to be a woman,
alone, vulnerable.

He wasn't a rapist.

He was just a boy.

I know, I know.

I don't have any children.

My restaurants are my babies.

God, the look
in his parents' eyes...

That boy is dead

and there's not anything
I can do about it.

I'm sorry.

In the matter of the people
versus Jolene Castille,

on the charge of manslaughter,
how do you find?

We find the defendant
not guilty.

- Hell no!
- Order!

[Gavel bangs]

Order! Order!

Jolene Castille,
you're free to go.

The jury is dismissed.

The state of New York
thanks you for your service.

Jolene, do you feel

What do you say
to Mehcad's parents?

We are disappointed
in the verdict,

but ultimately we respect
that the jury has spoken.

Do you think there will
there be rioting tonight?

If there are protests,

we ask that they be peaceful.

There's been enough
senseless violence already.

for Mehcad's sake,

for all our sons' sake...

Let this end now.

A juror told me they were
split on the first poll.

What happened?

Fear won out.

I'm sorry. I...

- No.
- It's not on you.

It's just how it is.

- sync and corrections by Zac -
- -