Jumping To Conclusions: Their Dead Son Was Blamed for Boston Marathon Bombing

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Sunil Tripathi

It could not have gotten any worse for 22-year-old Sunil Tripathi. 

The then-Brown University student had been missing for a month when the Boston Police Department released blurry photos of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing. Suspect #2 wore a white baseball cap over black hair as Tripathi sometimes liked to; both Tripathi and the suspect had distinctive facial features. via The Daily Beast

On Twitter, a women suggested that Tripathi looked like suspect #2 and the witch-hunt began. Millions of users villified Tripathi online and very shortly the conclusion was that he was one of the men behind the terrorist attacks. From anonymous Twitter pages to accredited journalists, Tripathi's reputation was being tarnished quickly because of their hunger for insatiable news.

Tripathi now carries an epitaph for a crime he did not commit. According to The Daily Beast, "A documentary called “Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi” captures the search for him, both while he was missing and in the aftermath of a false accusation. Premiering last fall at a film festival in Atlanta where it won the audience award for feature film, the documentary dissects how everyone’s ability to captivate a world audience is leading to greater misinformation, in this case through a series of tweets and Reddit messages validated by media outlets."

[vimeo 105810885 w=500 h=281]

The world premiere was March 25th, 2015. Check out this link for more screenings.

This documentary tells a story about the family's healing and looks at the destructive power of social media. Director Neal Broffman and Executive Producer Elisa Gambino said the feedback from audiences has been shock and discomfort as they watch the film. They hope it translates into changing ones behavior and thinking about where you get your information.

Timeline:

  • Went missing on March 13th, 2013
  • Boston Bombings on April 15th, 2013
  • Misidentified on social media April 15th-April 19th, 2013
  • Brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are named by FBI to be real suspects
  • Tripathi's body found floating in Providence River (suicide) April 23rd, 2013