Convicted tells the story of Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins. Jameel got a ride with an acquaintance to a store to get milk for his son. He was arrested and convicted of being a drug dealer when he was truly in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was arrested by Andrew Collins, a crooked cop. Eventually Collins got caught. Both McGee and Collins went to prison. They met up again after they both got out. This book is their stories, told in alternating chapters – one from Jameel’s point of view and one from Andrew’s.
I liked this book because it was truly a story of redemption and forgiveness. Both men were earnest forming a friendship and being able to walk away from their past. It also made me sad because I have a feeling this type of thing happens a lot more than any of us would be willing to admit. A dirty cop framing an innocent man.
While the state of policing in this country wasn’t the main theme of this book, it sits front and center through most of the story. And it really made me think about being a person of color in a society where it doesn’t matter how good you are – if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, you have to prove you’re innocent rather than being presumed innocent. For me, having gone to law school and believing in our form of government and justice, that is a bitter pill to swallow. It also made me think that we need to seriously look, not only at criminal justice reform, but at how we treat minorities and people of color in general. This book definitely provided a lot of food for thought.
I recommend this book.