A documentary that examines the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. After having spent between 6 and 13 years each in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.
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In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem were arrested and later convicted of raping a white woman in New York City's Central Park. They spent between 6 and 13 years in prison before a serial rapist confessed that he alone had committed the crime, leading to their convictions being overturned. Set against a backdrop of a decaying city beset by violence and racial tension, THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE tells the story of that horrific crime, the rush to judgment by the police, a media clamoring for sensational stories and an outraged public, and the five lives upended by this miscarriage of justice. Written by
Korey,Ray Santana (and Ray's father) and the other Five are the stars of this documentary really. Their humanity and suffering is etched in their faces. The story of five innocent boys (14-16) railroaded into confessing to a crime they didn't commit by police and prosecutors that just wanted feathers in their cap must touch the heart of any parent of a teenage boy. That they are ever exonerated comes as a miracle--and has nothing to do with the justice system. Ray's father says it is literally the hand of God, and honestly, this is one of those things that makes you wonder! The best thing about the movie is the men themselves. The trouble is that for Mr. Burns it is all about the racial fault line between black and white. Does he think we don't have any dividing lines up here in NH? Has he noticed the trailer parks hidden behind pine trees? All white people, definitely divided. I lived in NYC in 1990, and there was another headline blaring then about a white mob killing an innocent black man. The prosecutors in that case were also falling all over themselves making political hay. A person reading the headlines in both cases (Bensonhurst and Central Park 5) would have their blood boiling within 3 seconds. Meanwhile, more and more people in NYC spoke Spanish, Hindi, Chinese. We actually all took the subways together and were often courteous to one another, trapped like sardines, while holding our tabloids which screamed headlines that suggested, "stick to your own kind." It was less and less about black and white, but the tabloids never got that, and Mr. Burns doesn't either. He's sort of a reverse tabloid. But Korey and Ray and Antron and Kevin and Yussef are extraordinary people, and I thank Mr. Burns and his daughter Sara for permitting us to know their story. And this is more complicated than anything Mr. Burns has made before, so everyone should see it.
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