Boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who spent 19 years in prison for three murders that he didn’t commit, died at age 76 after suffering from prostate cancer.
Carter’s story symbolized racial injustice. Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington portrayed the boxer in the 1999 movie The Hurricane. Bob Dylan told Carter’s story in the 1975 song “Hurricane.”
Carter was freed in November 1985 after several years of appeals and public advocacy.
“I wouldn’t give up,” Carter said in a 2011 PBS interview via Fox Sports. “No matter that they sentenced me to three life terms in prison. I wouldn’t give up. Just because a jury of 12 misinformed people found me guilty, did not make me guilty. And because I was not guilty, I refused to act like a guilty person.”
In June 1966, two men shot and killed three people at the Lafayette Bar and Grill in Paterson, New Jersey. An all-white jury convicted Carter, and his longtime friend, John Artis. The jury based its decision on the testimony of two thieves who later recanted their stories.
Carter’s boxing career ended as a result of his murder conviction. He never became a world champion.
He went 27-12-1 with 19 knockouts.