Netflix Scripts Central Park Five Injustice in “When They See Us”

Now the story of the Central Park Five and their 25-year fight for justice has been told in Netflix drama series When They See Us.

The four-parter, which has earned rave reviews, starts with the fateful night of April 19, 1989.

Trisha, dressed in black leggings and a white T-shirt, left her Upper East Side apartment just before 9pm.

The circular route usually took 40 minutes, taking her past the Metropolitan Museum of Art, then brushing past the much poorer and ethnically diverse district of Harlem.

The park had fallen into disrepair in the 1970s, suffering from vandalism and neglect. But at the time of the rape the tide was starting to turn after an £80million renovation restored landmarks, lawns and gardens.

That a 28-year-old woman felt safe jogging alone through the park at 9pm is testament to how its reputation had been re-built.

But 15 minutes into her run, Trisha was coshed across the back of her head with a tree branch, dragged 40 feet into woods and assaulted.

Four hours later, builders found her battered body and called the emergency services.

Police picked up five Harlem teenagers in connection with a string of assaults carried out in the park in an activity known as “wilding”. These were Yusef Salaam, 14, Korey Wise, 16, Antron McCray, 15, Kevin Richardson, 14 and Raymond Santana Jr, 14.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 20: (L-R) Kevin Richardson, Antron Mccray, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana Jr., and Korey Wise onstage during the World Premiere of Netflix’s “When They See Us” at the Apollo Theater on May 20, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

They were interrogated for up to 30 hours, sometimes with no parents present. Yusef later said they had been coerced into confessing, saying: “Police deprived us of food, drink or sleep for more than 24 hours.”

It is claimed the boys were played off against each other, with police telling Raymond Santana that they had evidence against Kevin Richardson and Raymond could go home if he helped them.

Yusef added: “As soon as we get in, they separate us and they start working on us. I’m hearing Korey being physically beaten in the next room. I’m immediately beyond afraid.”

Raymond said recently: “You got to look at the landscape. You have to look at the fact that we’re 14, 15, 16-year-old kids who had never had involvement with the law, who had no criminal record.

“And these are seasoned detectives. So going into that situation, the playing field is already unlevel.”

Only the confessions were filmed, not the hours of interviews that led to them. Now 25 US states require electronic records of full interrogations, after a campaign by the five.

When They See Us, a four-part mini-series, has proved hugely popular on Netflix, and in the US the series has been the streaming service’s most-watched show since it debuted. In the UK it is the second-most watched after Black Mirror.

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