We are Witnesses : Documentaries of crime, punishment, and humanity


To see things from a different perspective is one of the most difficult things we have to do.

- Jeannette Armstrong

“We Are Witnesses,” is a project of nineteen short videos, each between two and six minutes long yet, together, provide  rare 360-degree portrait of the state of crime and punishment in the United States (via). 

More importantly though, these short videos also portray the raw totality of humanity - the ugliness, the imperfection, the forgiveness, and the hope. Because life isn't perfect, filled happy endings and right now, in-the-moment decisions are terrifying and full of error. 

And at then end of the day, everyone just wants to make it home safe. 

If we allow ourselves to see life and circumstances and the people around us - especially those filled with stereotypes - with even the slightest bit of compassion and empathy and understanding, we can, day by day, all be saved. 

Even if it is the most difficult thing we have to do.


Ed Gavagan : Stabbing Victim

It became more and more important for me to convey to him . . .  uh  . . . to convey this idea that we were each gonna get a second chance.

And you should do something with that.


Tommy Porr : Formaly incarcerated for 30 years

That's when more things started changing with me. The compassion, the love, the understanding, being human again - trying to be human again.

To love another human being that you really don't know or show compassion to someone you really don't know, that's all new to me. And that's what saved, saved me.


Steve Osborne : Retired N.Y.P.D

Nine-five percent or more of the cops who work out there are just decent, hard working people, try'n a go out, try'n a do the best they can, and go home in one piece at the end of the night. 

I think people don't realize how difficult it is, night after night after night, having to make split second, life and death decisions, and always have'n to be right. 


Erica Garner : Daughter of Eric Garner

I felt like, wow. In my saddest moment when I didn't know how to feel and I seen all these people out here for my dad . . . that just made me feel, empowered in a way.


Because we can all be more than mere witnesses to the crime and punishiment in America today. We can also be the hope, if we want to be. If we choose to be.


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Giving Back to Society, from Prison  :  Chris Paul forgives the kids who killed his grandfather