AVA DUVERNAY PARTNERS WITH NETFLIX FOR NEW MINISERIES ‘WHEN THEY SEE US’

Award-winning director Ava DuVernay partnered with Netflix to create the mini-series When They See Us a dramatization of the true story of the 1989 Central Park jogger case that led to the wrongful conviction of five boys of color: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Korey Wise, Yusef Salaam, and Raymond Santana. Netflix released the trailer for the miniseries on April 19, 2019, exactly 30 years after the brutal assault and rape of Trisha Meili in Central Park, with all episodes released online by May 31st.

For some younger viewers, When They See Us may be an introduction to the Central Park Five, but in 1989, their trial shook the American nation. Then, in 2002, their acquittal once again brought them into the national spotlight, proving definitively that they were victims of wrongful conviction and demonstrating the institutional racism of the NYPD and American legal system. DuVernay’s story largely follows the accounts of the Central Park Five, and while this may conflict with other narratives, the “Exonerated Five” have been proven to be telling the truth about their innocence. The five, now grown men, have all given their support to When They See Us and even walked the red carpet for the Netflix production.

Korey Wise (Jharrel Jerome)

 

Korey Wise was the oldest of all the boys as he was 16 years old when he was arrested. This meant that he was the only one tried and sentenced as an adult.

Yusef Salaam (Ethan Herisse, Chris Chalk)

Yusef Salaam was 15 years old when he was arrested for his involvement in the case. He went on to serve six years in prison, before being released and cleared of rape charges.

Antron McCray (Caleel Harris, Jovan Adepo)

Antron McCray was also 15 when he falsely confessed to the rape of the Central Park Jogger. His father urged him to confess as he believed a confession would lead to Antron going free.

 

Raymond Santana (Marquis Rodriguez, Freddy Miyares)

 

Raymond Santana was just 14 years old when he received the maximum sentence for boys his age: five to 10 years in a youth correctional facility, which is what Yusef, Antron and Kevin also received.

Kevin Richardson (Asante Blackk, Justin Cunningham)

Kevin Richardson, like Raymond, was just 14 years old when he was arrested in connection with the rape of Patricia Meili.

Linda Fairstein (Felicity Huffman)

Linda Fairstein was the head of the sex crimes unit in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office during the Central Park Jogger case. She oversaw the teenagers’ interrogations and trials, and played a huge part in securing their false confessions.

To this day, Linda still has not apologised for what happened to the boys. In fact, she stands by the fact that the teenagers’ interrogations were “respectful, dignified, [and] carried out according to the letter of the law and with sensitivity to the young age of the men.”

Elizabeth Lederer (Vera Farmiga)

 

Elizabeth Lederer was the lead attorney for the prosecution of the Central Park Five. She still practices law to this day.

Matias Reyes (Reece Noi)

 

After Matias Reyes met Korey in prison, the convicted rapist and murderer confessed to the rape of Patricia Meili. DNA evidence went on to confirm his admission and exonerated the Central Park Five. Matias continues to serve a life sentence in prison today.
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