Osagie Okoruwa, director of The Reporters Inc.’s new documentary, “The Innocent Convicts.”

Timothy Cole, as seen in his 1985 Lubbock, Texas mug shot. Cole was falsely accused of raping a fellow Texas Tech Student; Cole’s story is explored in The Reporters Inc.’s upcoming documentary about wrongful convictions in the U.S.

The Director Behind “The Innocent Convicts”

Why Osagie Okoruwa Wants Justice For All

August 2015

If you ask filmmaker Osagie Okoruwa why directing The Innocent Convicts is so important to him, he answers, “Freedom is a precious thing. We must work together to prevent the incarceration of innocent people.”

The Reporters Inc. has partnered with Osagie, who goes by “Ossy” for short, to help him turn his vision into a feature-length documentary.

Ossy moved to the U.S. from his native Nigeria in 2009 to attend Texas Tech University where he’s currently studying media strategies. After graduation he hopes to “be at the forefront of independent media production that would educate, enrich and impact society.”

At Texas Tech, Ossy learned about the tragic wrongful conviction of Timothy Cole. Cole was convicted of raping a fellow student in 1985 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He never wavered in his insistence of innocence, up until his death in prison (from an asthma attack) in 1999. Shortly afterwards, DNA evidence cleared Cole after another man came forward and admitted to the rape. Cole became the first person in Texas to be exonerated posthumously.

Ossy, a newly married father, says he feels dismayed that the American judicial system failed Tim Cole and his family “despite the fact they believed in the system. He was an innocent guy who was unjustly incarcerated.”

Though Ossy loves living in the U.S. (“America is endowed with good people”), and doesn’t believe he’s ever been racially profiled himself, he says, “This is an unfortunate incident that could happen to any of us no matter who we are or where we come from.”

Ossy hopes the documentary will “stimulate public discourse around complex issues of this nature and ignite social change. Film is a powerful tool that can shine a blazing light of hope on every side of our lives darkened by injustice.”

In 2014, by himself, Ossy began shooting interviews for The Innocent Convicts. Clips from some of these interviews can be seen in the trailers and promotional videos The Reporters Inc. is putting together as we begin raising funds to turn Ossy’s directorial vision into a professional production, to be aired on PBS stations nationwide.

Click here to watch the first trailer, focusing mainly on the Tim Cole case.

You can read more about the project here.

Our crowdfunding campaign, through IndieGoGo, is set to launch later this month but supporters can always make tax deductible donations here on our website.

As Ossy explains, “We need your support and donations to illuminate this important story. We want to partner with you to prevent incidences of wrongful convictions everywhere, and improve prosecutorial accountability.”

Osagie “Ossy” Okoruwa can be reached at nations2010@gmail.com.

Discussion

One person commented on "The Director Behind “The Innocent Convicts”"
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  • Heather Gatheridge says:

    Would LOVE to see the case of Charles Farrar, Colorado, in this documentary. Please contact me if interested. Charles was accused by his step-daughter of sexual assault in 2000. Charles’s trial was in 2002 and he was found guilty of all but 2 or 3 counts and sentenced to 145 years in prison. One year later the step-daughter recanted her entire trial testimony in a sworn affidavit, and twice under oath in subsequent evidentiary hearings. Mr. Farrar was denied a new trial, however, and has currently filed a writ of habeas corpus in the federal courts hoping to seek relief. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

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