'Crown Heights' tells story of wrongfully imprisoned immigrant

CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A new movie opening in theaters this weekend exposes a dark chapter in the history of Brooklyn. An immigrant from Trinidad was falsely accused of killing a man and spent decades in prison before he was finally exonerated.

"Crown Heights" tells the real story about a miscarriage of justice in the city that began in 1980. Even after seeing the film, it's hard to fully comprehend how Colin Warner could be found guilty of murder and forced to serve more than 20 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

"I could describe what I've been through as traumatic, right," Warner said. "I try to find ways to deal with this trauma and continue, but it's hard."

Warner would still be behind bars if not for the love the woman he married while in prison and the dedication of his childhood friend, Carl King, who spent decades of his life working to free Warner.

"Believing in his innocence and seeing his pain, that just drove me to know that, listen, I have to do something," King said.

The respect for him is obvious when talking to Nnamdi Asomugha, the actor who plays Carl.

"There were several people who came and tried to help," said Asomugha, a former NFL star. "They fell off, you know, after a few weeks or a year, but he was the one who was going to stick it out."

Originally, the movie was supposed to be made in New Orleans, to take advantage of tax incentives offered there. But instead, more money was raised to allow filming in New York City on the streets of Brooklyn and in a couple of prisons.

"Me living amongst these cold bars, yeah, really gave me a different sense for what it must have been like for Colin," said Lakeith Stanfield, who took on the role of Colin Warner.

Warner was eventually freed, but his case still resonates.

"Because though we've made headway as a society and we've become a little more conscious of things, I don't think our journey is finished," Stanfield said.

For the real Colin Warner, the movie proved very tough to watch. He also said he has no plans to watch it again, satisfied that "Crown Heights" does him justice.
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