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Full Synopsis

In June 1998, a shocking crime thrust the small town of Jasper, Texas into the glare of the media spotlight. The tragedy of one man’s life would outrage the world and became a flashpoint for the damaged state of race relations in America.

On a warm summer night in Texas, 49-year-old James Byrd, Jr. (Roy T. Anderson, They Call Me Sirr), an unsuspecting black hitchhiker, caught a ride with three young white men. After sharing beer and cigarettes in a secluded area outside of town, the trio suddenly descended upon Byrd, chained him to a pickup truck by his ankles, dragged him for more than two miles, and left his ravaged corpse on the side of the road. Overwhelmed by this savage hate crime, longtime state-trooper-turned-sheriff Billy Rowles (Oscar and Golden Globe winner Jon Voight, Ali), R.C. Horn (Oscar, Golden Globe, and Emmy winner Louis Gossett, Jr., An Officer and a Gentleman), the town’s first black mayor, and political activist Walter Diggles (Joe Morton, Terminator 2: Judgment Day) join forces to unite their stunned community while they fought to bring Byrd’s killers to justice.

The horrific crime appalled the nation and exposed Jasper as a place where bigotry still openly exists. Realizing that a statement has to be made, Rowles and Horn struggle with how to address the press. Rowles, despite having never made a public statement, musters up the confidence to tell the media that they have caught the perpetrators in what they are certain is an isolated incident. Consulting with the townspeople again, Rowles calls for Jasper to heal and to reflect on the realities of their growing concerns. Into an already shattered community marches Black Panther Khalid X (Bokeem Woodbine, The Rock) as well as the Ku Klux Klan, each with their own unyielding and volatile agendas. What followed, as America waited to hear the verdicts in the unspeakable crime, would threaten to fragment the once peaceful town forever.

Written by Emmy nominee Jonathan Estrin (Cagney & Lacey), Jasper, Texas is a dramatic and important television event that chronicles with unflinching honesty one of the most disturbing racially-motivated hate crimes of the post-Civil War era.

Programme Information

Aspect Ratio:
120 Mins
Year of Production:
TV Movies

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