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. Directed and produced by Burns, David McMahon and Sarah Burns, the film chronicles the Central Park Jogger case, for the first time from the perspective of the five teenagers whose lives were upended by this miscarriage of justice. PBS
The Central Park Five will air on PBS Tuesday, April 16, 2013. To find where and when the documentary is showing at a theater near you, visit the Facebook page.
NYC’s Ongoing Denial of the ‘Central Park Five’ Is a Disservice to Black, Latino Men
I’m outraged at New York City. As a young black man recounting this case from the Central Park Five’s perspective, trying to not be outraged wasn’t even an option. I had the details to this story as I did Emmett Till, The Scottsboro Boys, Trayvon Martin and countless other cases of young black men being victimized by false claims of victimizing white people (specifically white women) — staying indebted to a historical and institutionalized hatred and fear of the black man. But beforehand, I didn’t have the details on this level, and I was mind-blown from start to finish of this documentary. So much it’s been a process to articulate it and put it in these words.
NYC owes the Central Park Five an apology (and their money — a $250 million civil suit filed in 2003), which really in itself won’t make up for the many years lost among the five men. But NYC refuses to give it — will not even acknowledge any wrongdoing in the case — some claiming that the actual serial rapist and murderer, Matias Reyes, was just the sixth missing person involved in the rape. NYC also asked for a subpoena of the documentary’s footage — claiming the filmmakers aren’t journalists and the documentary is one-sided. But the subpoena was denied being that the filmmakers are protected under freedom of speech. According to the documentary’s well-known filmmaker, Ken Burns, asked for the city of New York’s voice in the documentary, but prosecutors and police refused to give it.