The Central Park Five
The Central Park Five, a new film from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, tells the story of the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989. The film chronicles The Central Park Jogger case, for the first time from the perspective of these five teenagers whose lives were upended by this miscarriage of justice.
Watch The Central Park Five, Tuesday, April 16 at 9:00 p.m. on WCVE PBS / WHTJ PBS.
On April 20, 1989, the body of a woman barely clinging to life is discovered in Central Park. Within days, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Korey Wise, and Yusef Salaam confess to her rape and beating after many hours of aggressive interrogation at the hands of seasoned homicide detectives. The five serve their complete sentences, between 6 and 13 years, before another man, serial rapist Matias Reyes, admits to the crime, and DNA testing supports his confession.
Set against the backdrop of a city beset by violence and facing deepening rifts between races and classes, The Central Park Five intertwines the stories of these five young men, the victim, police officers and prosecutors, and Matias Reyes, unraveling the forces behind the wrongful convictions. The film illuminates how law enforcement, social institutions, and media undermined the very rights of the individuals they were designed to safeguard and protect.
Among those interviewed in the film are: The Central Park Five and members of their families, New York City Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins, journalists Jim Dwyer, Natalie Byfield and LynNell Hancock, the Reverend Calvin Butts, and historian Craig Steven Wilder.