On an autumn night in 1979, a young cab driver named Jeffrey Boyajian was sitting in his taxi, waiting for his next fare. It was around 4 a.m., and he was parked in downtown Boston’s red-light district, known then as the ‘Combat Zone.’
Three men approached the curb and got into Jeffrey’s cab. He drove them across the city to a public housing complex called the Archdale Housing Development.
When Jeffrey stopped the cab, the three passengers made their real intentions clear. They pulled Jeffrey out of the car to rob him. After he begged for his life, one of the men raised his left arm and fired several shots into Jeffrey’s head.
Minutes later, the police arrived to find Jeffrey lying in a pool of his own blood near a dumpster. The robbers had fled.
Over the next few days, police used now-discredited psychological techniques — including hypnosis — to get two eyewitnesses to identify the shooters. One of them, they claimed, was sixteen-year-old Fred Clay.
“Wrongfully Jailed For 38 Years, Fred Clay Rebuilds His Life In Lowell,” by Chris Burrell, WGBH, 2018.
“Eyewitness testimony,” by Gary Wells, Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment, 2002.
“False witness: why is the US still using hypnosis to convict criminals?” by Ariel Ramchandani, The Guardian, 2019.
“Invisible Ink? What Rorschach Tests Really Tell Us,” Association for Psychological Science, 2009.
“The Reasonable Black Child: Race, Adolescence, and the Fourth Amendment,” by Kristin Henning, American University Law Review, 2018.
“The Essence of Innocence: Consequences of Dehumanizing Black Children,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2014.
Read the whole story: NPR