There are many words associated with the racial tensions in our nation today. "Fear." "Anger." "Hate." But what about "friendship?" As current as today’s headlines, this explosive true story reveals how these radically conflicted men chose to let go of fear and a thirst for revenge to pursue reconciliation for themselves, their community, and our racially divided nation. The story these men share may help us see a path forward. One that we walk together. Collins and McGee are now best friends, but it wasn't always that way.
Jameel McGee: “For the next three years not a day went by that I didn’t think about my son whom I had never seen and the cop who had kept me from him. And for most of those three years I promised myself that if I ever saw this cop again, I was going to kill him. I intended to keep that promise.”
Andrew Collins: “I watched this angry man march through a crowd, a little boy and another man struggling to keep up with him....The man walked straight up to me, stopped, and stuck out his hand. I took it. “Remember me?” he asked in a tone that sounded more like a threat than a question.
Racial tensions had long simmered in Benton Harbor, a small city on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, before the day a white narcotics officer--more focused on arrests than justice—set his sights on an innocent black man. However, when officer Andrew Collins framed Jameel McGee for possession of crack cocaine, the surprising result was not a race riot but a transformative journey for both men.
Falsely convicted, McGee spent three years in federal prison. Collins also went to prison a few years later for falsifying police reports. While behind bars, the faith of both men deepened. However, the story took its most unexpected turn once they were released--when their lives collided again in a moment brimming with mistrust and anger. The two were on a collision course—not to violence—but forgiveness.
They had both found God in prison, and He allowed them to find friendship with they met each other. This is a story about reconciliation, forgiveness, and hope. One that can hopefully launch conversations about the problems we face as a nation, and how to best address them.Both Collins and McGee seek to share this message with our deeply divided nation. They have appeared on The TODAY Show, among other media channels. Their book, Convicted: A Crooked Cop, an Innocent Man, and an Unlikely Journey of Forgiveness and Friendship (Random House) has been nominated for a Christopher Award. Moreover, they continue to speak at churches, colleges, major companies, and non-profits.
"It was so exciting to see, not only Andrew and Jameel's story, but their genuine love for one another. This story is so powerful and timely for an increasingly contentious culture. People at LifeBridge have been talking about their visit ever since and I know that dozens of lives were impacted by their presentation to our church. What an inspiration!"
“Their message of reconciliation is undeniably powerful. Beyond the fun, professional and truth-filled presentation, Andrew and Jameel’s heart to truly serve our church family at the point of our need(s) is what impressed me the most. The way they live their lives on and off the stage is a testimony to God’s forgiveness, restoration and promised gift of real joy.”
"Andrew Collins presentation to our church was powerful and spoke to real life situations. The power of Andrew's story is that he turned his life around not in his own power but by humbling himself befor"Andrew Collins presentation to our church was powerful and spoke to real life situations. The power of Andrew's story is that he turned his life around not in his own power but by humbling himself before God, listening to and obeying God."e God, listening to and obeying God."