The story of convicted Detroit drug trafficker Richard Wershe Jr. has been written about many times, but now a full-length documentary will debut about his life story.
"White Boy" will show at the Freep Film Festival, run by the Detroit Free Press, at three different times, the first being Friday, March 31 at 8 p.m. at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The other times are Saturday, April 1 at 8:30 p.m. at the Emagine Royal Oak and Sunday, April 2 at the Emagine Novi at 3 p.m.
The 1 hour, 15 minute film, which includes former FBI agents, former drug traffickers and gangsters, is directed by Shawn Rech. (See trailer below)
In Detroit, Wershe was an anomaly, a white kid trafficking cocaine in a black-dominated trade in the city. At 14, he became an FBI informant and he went on to traffic sizeable amounts of cocaine. He and people in law enforcement would later try to dispel his reputation as a "drug kingpin," but the media often insisted on referring to him that way.
In May of 1987, 17-year-old Wershe was charged with drug trafficking. Wershe, who had been dating the niece of then-Mayor Coleman A. Young, was later convicted and sentenced, under a tough, mandatory state law to life in prison without parole. The law eventually changed and he was resentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. But to date, the Michigan parole board has refused to set him free. He may finally get another chance at a parole hearing this year.
Wershe, now 47, is in the Oaks Correctional Facility in Manistee in northern Michigan.
At least one other movie is in the making.
Actor Matthew McConaughey will star as Wershe's father in the Hollywood version titled "White Boy Rick."
Multiple books are also being written about Wershe.
Freelance journalist and author Scott Burnstein of Oak Park, is co-writing a book he says will "will be completely written in his voice."
Additonally, former Detroit TV reporter Vince Wade, who resides in California and operates a blog, Informant America, which has focused on Wershe's ongoing saga, has also been working on a book since the summer of 2014.