Justifiable Homicide | Chicago Reader

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Margarita Rosario, a Puerto Rican immigrant in the Bronx, lost her son and nephew in 1995 when they were gunned down by patrolmen during an alleged break-in; this 2001 documentary by Jon Osman and Jonathan Stack (The Farm: Angola, U.S.A.) builds a meticulous case against the police while following Rosario's campaign for justice. Relying largely on materials from a civilian review board (graphic crime-scene photos, interviews with those close to the teens), the filmmakers reconstruct the events leading up to the killings and piece together a likely scenario. The legal and technical minutiae are a bit overwhelming, and the lack of testimony from the accused cops (one of them a former bodyguard for Mayor Giuliani) makes the story even more one-sided. But the David-versus-Goliath drama is compelling, epitomized by a radio phone-in confrontation between Rosario and the mayor. 86 min.

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