Sunday, June 2, 2019


Actors that play Central Park Five in series

I recommend the powerful four part mini-series on Netflix WHEN THEY SEE US directed by Ava DuVernay about the injustice done in 1989 to 5 young teenage boys (4 were African American and 1 was Hispanic) accused of rape, assault, robbery and inciting to riot by NYC's District Attorney's office led by Prosecutor Linda Fairstein and the nefarious detectives working on the case. Wrongly accused of raping and beating a jogger in Central Park, the juveniles confessed on tape, after being subjected to hours of extreme duress without parental supervision. They were convicted in 1990, maintaining their innocence throughout the years of their incarceration.

Four of the boys under 16 served for 5-7 years. The 16-year-old who was tried as an adult got a 15 -year sentence and suffered extreme brutality at the hands of the guards and fellow prisoners while locked up. The media was also complicit in stirring up anger and racial hatred; one of the most despicable people revving up the media was Donald Trump who took out an ad in the NY Times advocating for the death sentence - a factor in molding public opinion.
Mug shot Korey Wise - the 16 year old

How people are stripped of their humanity, how justice is perverted, how racial bias becomes a primary factor in our judicial system and how politics and "yellow journalism" warp the truth is stunningly revealed in this heartbreaking series. DuVernay sticks to the facts but also gives us a glimpse into the boys' families as we come to feel a deep affection for their lives and their individual struggles to survive even after the conviction was "vacated" (overturned) in 2002.

The ”Central Park Five” sued the city in 2003 and eventually won a $41 million dollars compensation - but it was not until 2014 when Mayor De Blasio came into power that the award money was approved and distributed. Lives were totally uprooted; families were uprooted and the corruption infused into the judicial system though eventually exposed at the expense of the youth's "lost years". This is a case that will make you weep with anger, frustration, and sorrow at man's inhumanity to man.

The "real" Central Park Five at Premiere of series