4 years ago

BOHH Beyond the Reel: All eyes on “When They See Us”

Created and directed by Ava DuVernay, “When They See Us” depicts the story of five young teens {Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise) black and Hispanic young men, wrongfully accused of the beating and rape of 28-year old female jogger, Trisha Meili, in Central Park on the night of night of April 19, 1989. Given the name the “Central Park Five” by the media, these five men of color were unjustly convicted of the crime and were not exonerated until 2002. Netflix has partnered with DuVernay with an incredible mini-series. DuVernay focuses and reflects the series’ mission to tell the men’s stories in full while highlighting their police interrogation and conversations the five young men had with each other. The cast includes new black actors to the Hollywood scene, Dawson’s Creek Joshua Jackson, also featuring Felicity Huffman’s first acting appearance since pleading guilty in the college admissions scandal.

The five men (Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise), were all between the ages of 14 and 16. They were convicted in 1990 and sentenced to 5 and 15 years in prison, despite the fact that none of the young men’s DNA did match the DNA gathered by the FBI’s rape kit.

Watch Ava DuVernay talk on CBS this Morning

According to an interview on the CBS News Sunday Morning, Anton McCray said, “I just kept telling the truth at first. [The detectives] asked to speak to my father. My father left the room with them. Came back in the room, he just changed. Cursing, yelling at me. And he said, ‘Tell these people what they wanna hear so you go home.’ I’m like, ‘Dad, but I didn’t do anything.’ The police is yelling at me. My father yelling at me. And I just like, ‘All right. I did it.’

The story in itself highlights the injustice of these men and will also reveal such a dramatic reveal on who actually committed this heinous crime. These men lost years of their life through unwarranted pressure from the police, unfair treatment by the media, and eventually becoming so overwhelmed that it cost the friendships between the men themselves.

Photo: Linda Fairstein and Elizabeth Lederer, TheRoot.com, By Jay Connor, Posted, Donald Trump

Amid the outcry generated by the series, former prosecutor Linda Fairstein was dropped by her book publisher following a social media campaign to #CancelLindaFairstein for her handling of the case. She also recently resigned as a trustee of Vassar, her alma mater.

Columbia University’s Black Students Organization had set up a petition asking the school to fire Elizabeth Lederer, a New York City attorney who was also involved in prosecuting the case. As a result, she resigned from her teaching position at Columbia Law School, citing the negative publicity the show has brought.

Donald Trump refuses to apologize to the Central Park Five for taking out full-page advertisements in New York City newspapers in 1989 calling for the death penalty and actually doubles down on his controversial stance on the Central Park Five,

New York settled a lawsuit with the five men for $41 million.




About The Author

Ji Storm

BOHH Content Manager


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