Central Park Five Reawakened
Recently, Netflix has been trending with its mini drama called “When They See Us” based on the infamous incident at Central Park in 1989. 5 non-white male suspects were charged with the rape a female (Trisha Ellen Meili) jogger in Central Park.
They were sent to prison until the actual rapist confessed his crime in 2002.
30 teenagers who were detected in or around the park at the time of the assault were interrogated. In the end, four African-Americans and a Hispanic American were arrested for the crime.
Although they were initially forced to confess their involvement in the crime, they withdrew their statements saying that the police tortured them into confessing.
In the meantime, the DNA tests found on the victim did not match the DNA taken from any of the five suspects.
Nevertheless, they were convicted of the crime in 1990 after two trials, receiving sentences of 5 to 15 years.
The tables were turned in 2001 upon the confession of Matias Reyes who admitted to raping Meili that night.
DNA confirmed they were innocent. After the charges was dropped, they had already served 13 years in prison. The 5 men later sued New York City for wrongful conviction.
Although the city had not settled for a decade, an agreement was reached where the state paid 41 million USD. After exoneration, the five men have been battling to improve the justice system.
Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, and Raymond Santana work as criminal justice advocates.
They aimed to enforce specific laws such as videotaping interrogations and to prevent inconsistencies and misinformation during police interrogations.
Korey Wise and Anton McCray have donated portions of their settlements to the Innocence Project, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to reforming the criminal justice. McCray, Salaam, and Richardson are currently married and with children.
Director Ava DuVernay released the move ‘They See Us’ in May 2019 on Netflix. The series brought back the controversy over the case and especially those responsible for sending the men to prison.
Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Lederer, who was the prosecutor of the case, was forced to quit her part-time job as a professor at Columbia Law School, after a group of students initiated a petition for her to be fired.
The case of Central Park Five will remain in our hearts as a disgraceful example of discrimination and wrongful prosecution against non-whites…
”May humanity never again perpetrate such injustice against humanity.’ ~ Cape Coast Castle, Slave Trade”