Tonight at 9pm ET PBS will premiere Ken Burns documentary The Central Park Five. If you haven’t heard the name before here’s the scoop. The title was given to a group of black teenagers during an investigation surrounding the rape of a white women in central park. The youth were immediately assumed guilty by officers, despite the fact that DNA from the crime scene matched none of the suspects.
The case of the Central Park Jogger immediately went viral and the youth were subsequently vilified by police and the media. But finally, the innocent get to tell their story.The film explores the events surrounding the case and highlights how racial profiling caused five black youths to lose irrevocable years of their life. Needless to say the film is a definite must see so I won’t give away too many details.
But I must note a few final details surrounding the case. In 2002 the actual rapist confessed to his crime which ignited pressure for the case to be reopened. Several inconsistencies in the suspects confessions came to light and the convictions were eventually vacated. Finally, after having to spend their youth in prison the men were finally able to live.
Now the men are seeking justice, but New York City refuses to settle the suits. Luckily, we have social media and what’s done in the dark will come to the light. The film is just the beginning. It’s time that we hold institutions accountable for the pain, lies, and discrimination they cast on black and brown bodies. Watch the film and be sure to follow the case. Justice will be served. For a taste of the documentary watch the trailer below.
Stand in solidarity with the Central Park Five and sign the petition below: