The Central Park Five: A story revisited in light of the acclaimed new Netflix series When They See Us, directed by Ava DuVernay
Published : Tuesday 28 May 2019
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The Central Park Five holds a reflective mirror up to our present day, going back to another period of rampant race-baiting, racially motivated police misconduct and the point at which Donald Trump made his first foray into US politics. This book will make you question whether much has really changed in the past thirty years.
The case of the Central Park Five is being revisited with a new acclaimed Netflix limited series on the subject, When They See Us, directed by Ava DuVernay. This is the only book that is going to tell you all you need to know about one of the most infamous criminal cases in American history. A trial that, thirty years on, still bears a striking, and unsettling, resemblance to our current political climate in the era of President Donald Trump. In April 1989, a white woman who came to be known as the 'Central Park jogger' was brutally raped and severely beaten, her body left crumpled in a ravine. Amid the staggering torrent of media coverage and public outcry that ensued, exposing the deep-seated race and class divisions in New York City at the time, five teenagers were quickly apprehended - four black and one Hispanic. All five confessed, were tried and convicted as adults despite no evidence linking them to the victim. Over a decade later, when DNA tests connected serial rapist Matias Reyes to the crime, the government, law enforcement, social institutions and media of New York were exposed as having undermined the individuals they were designed to protect. In The Central Park Five, Sarah Burns, who has worked closely with the young men to uncover and document the truth, recounts the ins and outs of this historic case for the first time since their convictions were overturned, telling, at last, the full story of one of America's most legendary miscarriages of justice.