SMH. If you were in NYC in the ’90’s you have to remember this case. It’s scary what happened to these INNOCENT kids all because the city was looking to find someone to pin the rape of a white woman on!
New York police took less than two weeks in 1989 to arrest five young African-American men in the shockingly violent assault and rape of 28-year-old investment banker Trisha Meili, in what became known as the Central Park Jogger case.
All five were eventually convicted.
It took another 13 years before those convictions were overturned. A prison inmate named Matias Reyes, in jail for unrelated crimes, confessed to the Meili attack. Subsequent DNA testing proved his guilt. The jail terms of the five were vacated after Reyes’ confession.
Now, 10 years after that dramatic move, comes “The Central Park Five.” It’s a gripping documentary by Emmy-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, along with his daughter Sarah Burns — who also wrote a book on the Meili case — and David McMahon.
The film made headlines during its festival-circuit run, when New York City subpoenaed research unearthed by the Burns group about the case. The filmmaker has so far resisted turning over material gathered while making the film.
It’s no coincidence, Burns argues, that the city’s efforts will further prolong the suit against it by three of the so-called Central Park Five, who charge malicious prosecution, racial discrimination and racial distress. He says those suits have been stalled in New York courts since 2003.
“It’s the fourth quarter and they’re trying to run out the clock,” Burns says. “These young men are now all in their late 30s, and it’s been more than 20 years.
“What’s so incredible is that these [men] have got the courage to say, ‘We’re not giving up. This is what justice looks like.’ ”
“The Central Park Five” began a limited theatrical release on Nov. 23, and will air next year on HBO. The film examines the night of April 19, 1989, the so-called “wolf pack” attack on Meili in Central Park, and the subsequent media and city-wide frenzy. All five men later said they were coerced into making confessions that implicated the others as well as themselves.
Burns hopes “The Central Park Five” raises public awareness of what he sees as an ongoing injustice. “In the larger moral sense,” Burns says, “this is 13 years of tragedy, compounded by a decade of limbo.”
What happened to these five men is disgusting. Just disgusting. They were children who were publicly persecuted and unjustly prosecuted and they still haven’t been compensated for the time they lost during this horrible miscarriage of justice.
We must support this film. Get the word out!