Last month marked 30 years since the arrest of the ‘Central Park Five’ – five teenage boys of colour from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of attacking a white, female jogger in Central Park in 1989. This month, a four-part miniseries is to be released on Netflix that chronicles the horrifying true story of five kids who were victims of racial prejudice and the broken U.S justice system.
The ‘Central Park jogger’ was one of the most widely publicised cases of the time – 28-year-old Trisha Meili was out on her evening jog through Central Park when she was brutally raped and attacked. On the same night, a group of boys – who would later become the Central Park Five – were wrongfully arrested in connection with a number of smaller attacks and robberies throughout the park, and subsequently linked with the rape of Meili. Despite the failure to match the DNA of any boys to the victim, the five were tried for sexual abuse, assault, riot, robbery, rape and attempted murder.
What is the Netflix show about? What really happened?
Created, written and produced by Oscar nominated Ava DuVernay (Selma, 13th), When They See Us follows the five boys across 25 years as they fight to prove their innocence.
The highly anticipated show begins in the spring of 1989 when the teens were first questioned – using horrific interrogation techniques to encourage a false confession – through to the trials, their eventual exoneration in 2002, and then their $41 million settlement against the city of New York in 2014.
The final episode focuses on one boy in particular, Korey Wise, who was just 16 at the time of his sentencing and was placed into a maximum security prison for 13 years. He eventually came into contact with the real rapist and attacker of Trisha Meili – an encounter which lead to a confession and the exoneration of all five men.
When They See Us goes behind-the-scenes and explores what really happened to Antron McCray (played by Caleel Harris/Jovan Adepo), Kevin Richardson (Asante Blackk/Justin Cunningham), Yusef Salaam (Ethan Heriise/Chris Chalk), Raymond Santana (Marquis Rodrigues/Freddy Miyares) and Korey Wise (Jharrel Jerome) who had their childhood, friends and family wrongfully stripped from them.
Tune into Netflix to catch all four parts of When They See Us when it drops on Friday, May 31.