The Central Park Five arrested for a crime they did not commit, has released their new mini series “When They See Us,” re-telling their story about the horrible and terrifying experiences they’ve had with the judicial system, leading up to wrongful convictions.
In this mini series, a spotlight is shone on these five boys, as their onscreen counterparts help illustrate their wrongful trial and incarceration for up to twelve years
On the evening April, 1989 everything changed for these boys walking through Central Park, as they would be later accused of sexually assaulting Trisha Meili, later known as the “Central Park Jogger”.
The five, Antron McCray (14) , Kevin Richardson (14) , Yusef Salaam (14), Raymond Santana (15), and Korey Wise (16), were among 30-45 other kids in Central Park, New York at the time, when city officials received a call about kids disrupting the Park. When city officials arrived at the Park, they chased the kids off, but then later discovered Meili, near death in another section of the Park.
These kids were then picked up because they “fit the description” of young black men and interrogated for hours with no food or sleep. None of the kids knew each other.
After being beaten and threatened , these little boys accompanied by their parents,
then wrote and signed a false statement put together by the police detailing a crime that they did not commit, in hopes that would be free to go home as promised. These false statements would later be presented as evidence used to convict the Central Park Five during trial.
During trial, the boys maintained their innocence as their case became biggest sexual assault case in New York City highlighted in all the major newspapers, and even catching some of the city’s investors’ attention, such as Donald Trump. Trump commented on the case several times, even paying large amounts of money to publish ads convincing the city to give the boys the death penalty.
Though no admissible evidence or DNA match were found or gathered, the
boys were still convicted of attempted murder, rape, assault, and robbery. Giving
them a 6-15 year sentence each in prison. Out of the five boys, Wise was sent to
Rikers Adult prison because of being age seventeen when convicted,
while the others were sent to a juvenile facility.
Years later, after the release of the men, Wise stayed incarcerated due to the
fact he was charged as an adult and his sentence was longer. After being in prison
for twelve years, Wise met Matias Reyes, who confessed to being the original
perpetrator. Charges were then reversed and the boys, who are now men were
exonerated and taken off the Sex Offender Registry. Then in 2002, Wise was
The reverse conviction shone light on the unjust ruling of the Central Park’s
Five case. Now, with their new Netflix mini-series revisiting history, it shows how
the criminal justice system made to protect innocent lives, ended up stealing the
childhood away from these five young men.
The Central Park Five had much success when filing legal lawsuits against
The City of New York, winning 41 million all together. Even though The Central
Park Five were successful in winning the lawsuit, the City of New York still
declares that there was no error of judgment during the conviction. “This story proves that the criminal justice system is more committed to politics than the truth,” Ava Duvernay, the director of “When They See Us” said in a public statement.
All of the elements come together, as the plotted theme of the story is clear and detailed in every aspect. Ava Duvernay, also director of “Selma” and the “13th” created this
docudrama that gives audience a flash back to black history in the early 90’s.
“When They See Us” catches watchers’ attention from episode One until the very last episode. It catches the confusing energy and sense of fear these little boys had about a situation that was beyond out of their control. Most would label this mini-series as a historical drama based on a real-life story.
“When They See Us” premiered May 31st on Netflix.
Categories: Features, Uncategorized
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