Out in the Night

There are hundreds of gripping legal cases diving under the media’s radar as all attention is diverted to infamous trials like the Jodi Arias murder case. One of the cases – where victims are railroaded and depicted as perpetrators – is the “New Jersey 4.”

Bitch magazine reports:

On August 16, 2006, a group of young, gay black women were hanging out in New York City’s West Village when a man approached and started harassing them. The man, Dwayne Buckle, followed the women, saying things like “I’ll fuck you straight.”

They tried to ignore him and walk away, but he pursued, grabbing at his crotch and continuing to hurl insults. Finally they confronted him and a fight broke out. One of the women had hair pulled out, another was choked by Buckle on the ground.

Two passerbys came over to stop Buckle, who ended up being stabbed and spent five days in the hospital. Buckle was never charged. The women were.

The women were charged with assault and gang assault and were sentenced to various incarceration times ranging from three to 11 years. The media depicted the women as a “wolfpack” and “gang of killer lesbians” without considering how the multiplicative intersections of their existences impacted their sentences.

Filmmaker blair doroshwalther decided to create “Out in the Night” after reading a New York Times headline titled “Man Is Stabbed After Admiring a Stranger.”

doroshwalther’s documentary tells an alternative version of the night that changed the four women’s lives forever. “Out in the Night” explores how these women’s intersectional realities played into their conviction and the media coverage of the trial. She writes:

For four years, our team has filmed important pieces of this story carefully and intimately that will allow you to understand how race, class, gender and sexuality came to bare upon this case. While we unpack the fight itself, we are most interested in revealing what happened after – including the trial that reveals the court’s skepticism around self-defense, and the mainstream media’s biased coverage. “Out in the Night” is a film designed to unpack complex issues, including the racialization of gang assault charges and who is seen as a victim and who is not based on race, gender and perceived gender-identity. It is a story about four young women and their families, but it is also a tool for action and change.

doroshwalther received awards and financial support from several organizations including the Sundance Film Institute, Astraea Lesbian Justice and the New York State Council on the Arts, but the film still needs funding.

The cast and crew of “Out in the Night” are seeking $23,700 to finish the film. Their Kickstarter campaign has generated $21,283 thus far, but there are six days left to donate. The filmmakers hope to raise more than $23,000 to hire a composer and musician for the film’s original score.

“Out in the Night” will premiere at a film festival in early 2014 before screening in several American cities.

Check out trailer here: http://vimeo.com/58058969

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  • I remember this story. Thanks for bringing it back up! At the time, the media portrayed them as “angry dykes” who violently jumped a man for hitting on one of them. Only later (and with less coverage) did it come out this was self defense. I’ve witnessed, while hanging out in the West Village many men, mostly drunk harrassing lesbians, telling them all they need is “good d**k”‘to “turn” them straight. And as someone mentioned before if they want to “act like a man” they’ll treat them like one. It’s disgusting. The only way the media would have portrayed it differently is if he harassed a group of white gay men who white hetero women. Then they’d be the heroes who took down menace.