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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
Jim Dwyer - New York Times:
What ever you do in life, you make mistakes, and you either face your mistakes, or you don't. I don't think the Press faced it's mistakes. I don't think the Police Department faced the truth in what had happened, because the truth of what had happened is almost unbearable. By prosecuting the wrong people in the central park rape case, Matais Reyes continued to hurt, maim and kill. And They could have had him, but they got stuck with a mistake, and they are still invested in that mistake.
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Excellent documentary from Ken Burns, Sara Burns and David McMahon about the 1989 crime that shocked New York City. A white woman went jogging in Central Park where she would be severely beaten and raped. Five black teenagers were eventually charged with the crime with the only evidence being their own confessions, which were pretty much planted in them by the police. I was only vaguely familiar with this case and hadn't really heard about all the events that happened back when the crimes happened. With that said, it's pretty shocking to see these five were convicted of these crimes and it's pretty clear that the only reason they were prosecuted was the media attention and all the hatred that it stirred up among people. Yes, race was certainly a factor and it was also a factor that the crime happened in Central Park. As the film mentions, other crimes were being committed everywhere yet very little media attention happened. There's no question that the material was given to the right people as there's all sorts of great information given about the case, the trial and what would eventually clear the five people. If you're familiar with the work of Ken Burns then you know he always talks about the "other" situations around the subject. That happens here when they discuss the crime rates in NYC and how this played a part in the police needing to solve this crime even if they went after the wrong people. Another great aspect is that all five people are interviewed and hearing from them is certainly priceless. Sadly, those who cost them years of their lives were too big of cowards to appear on camera and what's even more shocking is that they still seem to think they did nothing wrong.
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