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Notorious Case That Rocked NYC Gets 'Intimate' New Look

Ava DuVernay's 'When They See Us' on Netflix examines the Central Park Five
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2019 9:50 AM CDT
In this Oct. 21, 2002, file photo, Dolores Wise, left, whose son Korey Wise was one of five youths convicted in the Central Park jogger case, pumps her fist in the air at a rally in front of Manhattan...   (AP Photo/Robert Mecea, File)
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(Newser) – It was a story "big enough, terrible enough, to electrify a city grown numb to its own badness." So writes Jim Dwyer for the New York Times on the story that inspired When They See Us, a four-part Netflix movie by Ava DuVernay debuting Friday on the Central Park Five, a case Dwyer covered for Newsday. Dwyer revisits the details of what happened after the brutal 1989 rape and assault of 28-year-old Trisha Meili, who was nearly killed in the attack in the park. Korey Wise, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, and Kevin Richardson were the five young teens arrested and convicted in the attack—convictions that were vacated in 2002 after another man, Matias Reyes, came forward and admitted to the crime, and said he acted alone. "I ... wish that I had been more skeptical and that I had shouted, rather than mumbled, the doubts I did express," Dwyer writes. More on the case and DuVernay's film:

  • Writing for Vulture, Jen Chaney calls the movie an "intimate, sensitive look" at the case, "[stripping] away the dehumanizing tendency to bunch them together and instead showing] what each of them dealt with individually when they were coerced into giving false confessions, forced to do time for a crime they did not commit, and, eventually, exonerated."
  • Esquire offers the "excruciating" timeline of the tragedy, from the day of Meili's attack through June 2014, when New York City settled with the five men for $40 million.
  • In Newsweek, see the full-page ad taken out in local papers by then-real estate developer Donald Trump, who called to "bring back the death penalty" two weeks after the attack, and long before any trial. "Mayor Koch has stated that hate and rancor should be removed from our hearts," Trump said in the ad. "I do not think so. I want to hate these muggers and murderers. They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes."

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