The Central Park Five: Same As It Ever Was

April 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm by: nancy a heitzeg Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Corrupt Judiciary, Criminal Injustice Series, Intersectionality, Prison Industrial Complex, Prisoner Rights

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The Film

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.


This article is eye opening that these errors are still going on currently. As I read this it made me think back to Sister Helen Prejean's book The Death of Innocents and how these cases like Dobie's and O'Dells are not just one of a few, rather many. I hope one day our society can stop with the racial prejudice in the criminal justice system and our society, but based on articles like this it may be awhile.

Also, I clicked on the Kimani Gray link, I cannot believe the reports statistic that "Every 28 hours in 2012 someone employed or protected by the US government killed a black man, woman, or child!" ...That statistic is astonishing! 

nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg 1 Like

worth the watch -- but this is no isolated incident or historical artifact..See NYPD stop and Frisk.. See Kimani Gray.. More..

Someday someone with the clout of a Ken Burns needs to tell the collective tale of systemic racism in the right now..