Central Park Five Netflix Drama Series: When They See Us

Recently I came across a new Netflix mini drama series that will be coming to Netflix at the end of May. Enticed by the title of the series, I clicked on it in curiosity. What I watched lead me further and further into learning about the cases of the Central Park Five and how unjust and terrible their experience was. The Central Park Five case is a 1989 case involving a white jogger who was beaten and rapped while jogging in the park at night. Around the same time, a group of youths who were in the park were suspected of assaulting other joggers, throwing rocks at bicyclists and harassing a homeless man. The police department wrongfully assumed that five boys from that group were the ones who raped and injured the jogger. What unfolded was a series of alleged mistreatment towards the five boys charged with her assault, depriving them of necessary resources like food and water, interrogating them without their parents in the room and forcing them to corroborate their stories. After a series of trials and (in my opinion) unfair trials, the boys were convicted. In 2002, all five (now) men were vacated of their charges.

I hope that this series will shed some light on the issue of racially charged police treatment and corrupt justice systems that were happening then and are still happening today. I also hope it shows how quick people are to negatively judge youths who are not white. I think that this series will educate a new generation of youth about the Central Park Five and their stories. I was born and raised in New York, but I didn’t know about their stories and cases of wrongful (and extremely unjust) convictions until this year. It will be interesting to see how the public receives the series and if it leads to more discussion and action towards corrupt and racially motivated police cases.

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