Civil rights attorney featured in documentary

June 21, 2010
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From IL reporter Rebecca Berfanger:

Some “First Impressions” readers might remember a blog post about a well attended Indianapolis screening of the film “William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe.” The documentary is about infamous civil rights attorney William Kuntsler, and was directed and produced by his daughters who grew up hearing about his cases in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s.

Indiana Lawyer covered it because Indianapolis was one of the first cities to show it, thanks to sponsorship from the Indianapolis International Film Festival, the Indianapolis law firm of Waples & Hanger, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

For those who missed the Feb. 18 showing at the IMA, which was followed by a lively discussion featuring Indianapolis civil rights attorneys, the film will be aired on PBS stations around the country starting Tuesday.

According to the websites of a few local affiliates, WTIU in Bloomington, which is also available on some Indianapolis satellite providers, WNIT in South Bend, and WFWA in Fort Wayne will air the documentary at 10 p.m. Tuesday. WNIN, available in southwest Indiana, will air the film at 9 p.m. Tuesday. All times are local.
It is not on the schedule for WFYI in Indianapolis, but it will also be available for viewing online Thursday through Sept. 21.

For those who don’t remember the blog or don’t recognize the name, they’ll at least recognize Kuntsler’s clients: revolutionaries who protested at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago; inmates who started a riot at Attica prison in New York in 1971 over inhumane living conditions; the American Indian Movement members who demonstrated at Wounded Knee, S.D., in 1973; a man convicted of and later exonerated for allegedly beating and raping a jogger in Central Park in 1989; a house cat named Tyrone who was held for crimes against humanity in a mock trial on TV in 1989; and those accused of bombing the World Trade Center in 1993.

Well, maybe Tyrone isn’t as well known or as controversial as the rest. But he still gets a mention in the film.

  • "Infamous?"
    I think it may be a bit strong to call William Kunstler. According to my old American Heritage dictionary from high school, "infamous" means "having an exceedingly bad reputation, notorious . . .3. convicted of a crime as treason or felony that brings infamy." I hope that is not what you intended about the colorful and controversial Mr. Kunstler.

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