[youtube id=”UBa0Lv8eon4″]Richard Wershe Jr. became the youngest FBI informant at the age of 14 during the ’80s in Detroit. He became a drug dealer as part of his alibi and was known in the city as White Boy Rick. He was rumored to be a 17-year old kingpin with a mythical presence and huge control over the city’s illegal drug supply. Wershe’s drug trafficking was real but not as big as he was portrayed in the streets. His ultimate job for the authorities was to expose corrupt activities of police officers and Mayor Coleman Young. His attempt to have both parties prosecuted failed and he was later arrested with a huge amount of cocaine and given a life sentence.
Through the years Wershe’s supporters questioned why he received a life sentence as a juvenile charged with a nonviolent crime. White Boy is a documentary from filmmaker Shawn Rech about Wershe’s life. Rech’s direction looks at Wershe’s case from the standpoint of him being used and then receiving a harsh conviction by the law for the sake of saving some of Detroit’s establishment figures. A former hitman, an ex-FBI agent and ex-police officers are interviewed and talk about a conspiracy to kill Wershe because of his informant work.
The film debuted last year at the Freep Film Festival. In September, Hollywood will release their version of Wershe’s story, called White Boy Rick with Matthew McConaughey playing Richard Wershe Sr. After 30 years, Wershe was paroled but is now serving a three-year sentence in a Florida prison for his involvement in a stolen car ring. White Boy is a look at Detroit’s drug economy in the ’80s and the country’s war on drugs. The film is streaming now on iTunes.