Injustice of the Central Park Five brought into the light

Liliane Ballout, Staff Writer

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People are emotionally driven and confused when it comes to remembering the past. This is especially true for viewers who watch the 2019 series “When They See Us,” based on the true story about five boys who allegedly committed a vicious crime in Central Park.
Everyone called them “The Central Park Five,” and they were accused of committing crimes such as murder, sexual assault and battery. Five children of color were called in at the police station one day for the investigation of a murder. Instead of allowing in lawyers and informing the children’s parents of the arrest, the police went ahead and illegally interviewed the five underage boys without the presence of a legal guardian or lawyer.
The frightened children were then beaten and threatened by the police to confess to doing something that they did not do in the first place. They were judged by the color of their skins and ultimately already sentenced to jail by the simple fact that they were not home that day and found near the crime scene.
There was public outcry and a mob mentality to bring the death penalty upon these boys who were African American and Hispanic American. and accused of assaulting and raping a white female jogger.
It is astonishing how those boys survived the racial slurs and the illegal accusations and battery both in prison and out of prison. It was explained that although ultimately innocent, these five boys were sentenced to prison for anywhere from six to thirteen years, depending on their age.
Many years of five innocent men’s lives were taken away from them and their families. Years later, when they finally got out, their reputation followed them everywhere. This meant difficulties of finding a decent job, settling down and having a family and just being able to freely breathe some fresh air without having to be accused, looked down upon and seen as something they were not.
With a lot of patience and good detective work, the actual killer who raped Trisha Meili confessed to the crime. This led to vacating the conviction of the five men and their winning a civil case in which they won $41 million. The men have presently established their own businesses and provided opportunities to help people of color in their community.
While not everyone is racist or prejudiced, this case shows that justice is not blind and that as a nation we still have much work to do. “When They See Us” miniseries, created, co-written and directed by Ava DuVernay, is currently on Netflix and scored a 9/10 on IMDb and 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes