CAPE CORAL, Fla. - It's a story of a local soldier who claims he was forced to kill innocent Afghan civilians. "The Kill Team" is being shown this week at the Tribeca Film Festival. It features Specialist Adam Winfield of Cape Coral and his firsthand account of the horrific events.
Winfield was one of several soldiers convicted in the "thrill kill" case. He was sentenced to three years in prison. Winfield alerted his family after the first killing. But, the Army didn't take action until two more civilians died. "The Kill Team" depicts the moral dilemma Winfield says he faced in Afghanistan - kill or risk being killed for trying to stop it.
"I never imagined in a million years I'd be going to jail... I never wanted to kill anyone, ever," Winfield said in the film trailer. "People in my platoon, they just changed. Why am I the only one that's not okay with this, why is it just me?
The Cape Coral man's story went from news headlines to film, now being seen at festivals in New York, San Francisco and Canada. Winfield said he tried to blow the whistle on the operation that left three Afghan civilians dead in 2010, eventually being pressured into taking part.
"The Kill Team" chronicles Winfield and his fellow soldiers' journey from battlefield to courtroom. The only one who did not participate was Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, often portrayed as the ring-leader. He was sentenced to life in military prison.
Oscar-nominated Director Dan Krauss said, "I would like to introduce audiences to a new concept just starting to be discussed in psychiatric circles: 'moral injury.' It refers to a psychological wound that comes from having taken an action - or not prevented an action - that is a betrayal of one's core moral values... In witnessing such stories, we too are forced to weigh our own priorities, our own values and our own sense of right and wrong. In short, we are forced to ask ourselves, 'what would I do?'"
Winfield has since been released. Krauss said his goal was not to pass judgment, or show favor for Winfield or the military. He said, "this story is about something much bigger than the soldiers themselves."
You can find more information at KillTeamMovie.com.