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Free at last: The David Lewis story

For nearly 20 years, Bill Moyers and his team followed the story of David Lewis, an ex-con, ex-drug addict and former gang member.

Lewis dedicated his life to proving that even hardened criminals could be rehabilitated.

He became known around the world for a simple but radical program he developed to help people like himself get clean and stay out of prison. It was working wonders — and so was David Lewis — until earlier this summer, when he was gunned down in an East Palo Alto, Calif., parking lot.

Nobody has identified David Lewis’ killer. Three weeks ago, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced a $50,000 reward to anyone with information leading to a conviction in the case of Lewis’ death.

For now, what we can provide is a retrospective of what was a truly remarkable life.

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  • freida barnes

    I’d like to purchase the dvd on “Free At Last” the David Lewis story. a project by Linda Mills !? Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you
    Freida barnes

  • Primo

    Society creates many of the problems which it hates because there is ALWAYS an assumption of guilt. Part of this assumption is that no one can be reformed.

  • Terry Wheeler

    The David Lewis story may have had a very sad ending, even tragic when looking at it from the point of view of redemption, but there was a good ending considering what could have happened and what happens every day… more senseless death and the person that killed him may not have the opportunity that Lewis provided him!

    There is also the son, who made something of his life… hopefully skipping his fathers major problems and lifting himself to a higher goal in life… a successful role in life!

    Who knows whether the killing was random or whether the local gang decided he was cutting into their profits or worse case… Mr Lewis fell back into the life!

    What we do know is that there are an awful lot of Black men in prison and most of them got in there just like Mr Lewis did… no matter what the excuse may be about easy money… they broke the law… stole property, injured or killed neighbors and poisoned their neighbors and the neighborhood children with drugs to make that easy money and got caught… and are serving sentences for the crimes they committed!

    Pretendling like they were just being oppressed and abused has not worked well for anyone over the last several decades and accountablilty can’t seem to find any traction in the communities!

  • Margaret Lewis

    In times of war landmines were set in villages to keep out the enemy, who better to call back into those same villages but those who set the landmines that our children are blowing themselves up on today, this is the story of David Lewis, dedicating his life to giving back what he took through “community restitution”, and then replicating what worked in East Palo Alto throughout the nation, and then worldwide from Africa to Russia. David was awarded the California Peace Prize fo rhis efforsts in reducing the violence by 87% in his community that was deemed the murder capital of America, East Palo Alto, CA.
    We must remember that there are other David Lewis’ in our prison systems all over the world, who are doing time for the crimes they committed, and that one day most of them will re-enter the communities they came from, so it is our job as community members, and leaders to cultivate a climate of acceptance so that when these men, and women do return to their communites they will be received with an attitude of acceptance, forgiveness, and equally as important the tools that are not only necessary but critical for change to happen.

    Any one of us can cut an apple in half, and count the seeds in an apple, but not one of us can count the apples in a seed! Lets continue to plant seeds, in those who are re-entering so we can change the culture, and STOP THE VIOLENCE………..Peace

  • Willie Lump

    According to “Free at last: The David Lewis story”, David Lewis was gunned down in an East Palo Alto parking lot, and was a former gang member.

    What East Palo Alto parking lot was David Lewis gunned down in?, and what gang was David Lewis a member of?

  • Sal Morales

    David was not gunned down in EPA, he was shot in San Mateo’s Hillsdale shopping mall; 2 blocks from his place of employment. David became a leader of 1 of the 4 validated California Department of Corrections prison gangs.

  • Lawrence T. Pender

    I had the pleasure of work at Free A Last in the late 90′s. David Lewis was a friend and mentor to me. I loved and respected him. The world will surely be less tolerable with him gone. He taught people that “change” is possible. His legacy will live on forever.

  • Branchtimothy35

    First of all,,,He was assasinated in San Mateo at a Mall in front of People, Camera, no tellin what else.How could you fumble such a important (to those of us who care an Love him) issue.San Mateo Mall..Daylight… Cameras.I’ma take it on myself to illustrate the facts. I trully Thank Bill Moyer for having the insight an courage to Document David L.,I am another one of the individuals He took a Special Interest in…He was also My Mentor. David was every body who knew him’s Hero. Beautiful Brother…it was such a Blessing to meet, know an spend, Dirty an Clean time with him. Because of him i earned a Certificate Of Rehabilitation. Tim B.