Where are the Central Park Five now? The real story behind When They See Us on Netflix
3 June 2019, 18:10 | Updated: 3 June 2019, 20:17
Netlfix's new crime drama When They See Us tells the true story of the Central Park Five...
When They See Us debuted on Netflix on Friday (May 31) to critical acclaim. The four-part drama tells the heartbreaking, true story of the "Central Park Five".
In 1989, four black teenage boys (Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise) and one hispanic teenager (Raymond Santana) were wrongly convicted of raping and assaulting Trisha Meili, a white, female jogger in Central Park, New York. In 2002, their names were cleared after serial rapist and murderer, Matias Reyes, confessed to the crime and his DNA (and no one else's) was found all over the victim's body and clothing.
When They See Us explores the various forms of racism which led to the "Central Park Five" being arrested and the ways in which the US justice system, media and world at large failed them. Directed by Ava DuVernay (Selma, Queen Sugar), When They See Us has received widespread praise for telling Kevin, Antron, Yusef, Korey and Raymond's story in an incredibly sensitive and moving way.
How accurate is When They See Us? What happened to the Central Park Five?
When They See Us is significant because, unlike many, true-crime dramas, Ava DuVernay worked closely with Kevin, Antron, Yusef, Korey and Raymond on the project. Raymond actually approached Ava on Twitter, after watching Selma. He tweeted: "what's your next film gonna be on?" and suggested 'The Central Park Five'. Ava then met with him and the other men one by one and "became passionate about telling their story".
Speaking to the New York Times about why he wanted Ava to direct it, Raymond said: "I’d watched “Selma” - there’s a part where [Martin Luther King, Jr.] is confronted by [his wife] Coretta with recordings [of him with another woman], and I felt like that was bold to put in the film. By showing that, it showed the human side of this man who was put on a pedestal. And it told me that she had no fear of telling the truth."
When They See Us does that. It tells the story of the boys and how they were coerced into confessing to crimes, which they didn't commit. They were held, threatened, beaten and told that they could only go home if they confessed and accused the other boys of taking part, too. Ava told The Daily Beast in interview: "It’s their story. It’s the story of five boys ripped out of their youth, and the story of their families."
Speaking about how well Ava managed to capture their story, Atron said "[She] came to my house. She spoke to me about what happened to me. She listened to me. Everything that I told her, she brought it to life and everything. She listened to everything I had to say. And I appreciated it." All five men spent between 6-14 years in prison. In 2014, they received a settlement of $41 million from the city.
Where is Korey Wise now?
Where is Raymond Santana now?
Where is Anton McCray now?
Where is Yusef Salaam now?
Where is Kevin Richardson now?
Ever since When They See Us came out, people have taken to social media to praise it and talk about how important it is.
Here are just a few of the reactions to the series so far.
I’m just 15 mins into #WhenTheySeeUs and it’s almost too much.— deray (@deray) May 31, 2019
People call us conspiracy theorists when we explain stories like this, that happen daily. We are conspiracy realists — we are describing the horrors that seem stranger than fiction but are all too real.
Spent the morning crying watching @WhenTheySeeUs @ava ´s filmmaking is a diamond bit drill carving away at the lies told to us & about us. She drills down to the truth & let’s the light shine out. Thank you to the High Priestess Ava DuVernay. @WhenTheySeeUs is essential viewing.— Jennifer Beals (@jenniferbeals) June 2, 2019
“When they see us” is super emotional if you been thru the system! Thank you Ava and all the creators of this series!— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) June 1, 2019
Part 1 of #WhenTheySeeUs just ripped my heart out and stomped all over it. My God the magnitude of the injustice these boys faced leaves me with no words...Pls don't look away, this is a hard story to watch, but do it anyway. 😢😢😢 pic.twitter.com/JgZAsRbk88— Gleana Albritton (@MsGlea) May 31, 2019
@ava watching #WhenTheySeeUs in between takes on set because it is incredible and heartbreaking and infuriating. Thank you for giving these men a voice and for giving voice to a trans woman. Yes that is also important!! Xx— Cynthia Erivo (@CynthiaEriVo) June 1, 2019
I want to jump inside my tv and save them. They interrogated young men and made them say things that weren’t true. #WhenTheySeeUs— ANGIE (@i_am_angelajoy) May 31, 2019
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