The four-part series will cover the controversial case and is told from the perspectives of the five teens involved.
Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay is returning to Netflix with a new series that focuses on one of most controversial criminal court cases in recent U.S. history. The "Central Park Five" case centered on a group of teenaged boys—four Black and one Hispanic— who were accused and convicted of rape 30 years ago. In 1989, a woman named Trisha Meili was jogging through New York's Central Park when she was attacked and sexually assaulted. The boys, whose ages ranged from 14 to 16-years-old, were subsequently tried and convicted of assault, robbery, riot, rape, sexual abuse, and attempted murder in relation to Meili's attack and other assaults in the same area.
DNA testing didn't match any of the young men, but their trials moved ahead, anyway. Members of the group pointed fingers at one another and even confessed to committing the crimes. They spent anywhere from six to 13 years in prison until four of their convictions were overturned. Jailed serial rapist and murderer Matias Reyes later confessed to raping Meili and was never a suspect in the original case. At the time of the controversy, Donald Trump took out full-page ads in major newspapers in New York and called for the state to reinstate the death penalty in response to the Central Park Five's conviction. In 2016, Trump was asked if he changed his mind regarding the case, however, he stood by his original opinion that the men are guilty.
In a four-part, limited series on Netflix titled When They See Us, DuVernay is telling the story of the young men who nearly lost their entire lives to the system. “In 1989, five black and brown teen boys were wrongly accused of a crime they did not commit and branded The Central Park Five, a moniker that has followed them since that time,” said DuVernay in a statement. “In 2019, our series gives the five men a platform to finally raise their voices and tell their full stories. In doing so, Korey, Antron, Raymond, Kevin and Yusef also tell the story of many young people of color unjustly ensnared in the criminal justice system. We wanted to reflect this perspective in our title, embracing the humanity of the men and not their politicized moniker.”
When They See Us premieres May 31 on Netflix.