Disclaimer: I do understand that some events may have been dramatized for the film, I also have the utmost sympathy for the rape victim this case is centered around.
I just watched the most emotionally draining movie of my life.
Let’s start this post by just stating a fact: kids are annoying. They just are, it’s their nature as kids. And when they get together especially as little hormone monsters, no matter what color, that annoying level goes from a 5 to a 1,005. They get into little packs and just annoy it up until they’re bored. But, in these packs, they do not brutally beat and rape unsuspecting joggers. In fact, they’re more likely to pick on each other.
You know how Us was creepy cause the larger story was that we all have two sides, well Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us is creepy because it is one of the many stories of how the American justice system is meant for anything but actual justice when it comes to people of color. The film tells the true story of the five men that have been contemporarily labeled as “The Central Park 5” who were rounded up as young boys and sent to prison for a heinous crime they did not commit based on no evidence and coerced confessions.
I first became aware of the case in 2014 after seeing an article about the case and how the state still did not take accountability for stealing these boys’ childhood. At the time, I did not understand why the state wouldn’t take responsibility for a case they so obviously fumbled. DuVernay’s film brought clarity to how the boys were targeted and placed into the prison system.
To briefly recap, The film depicts how the NYPD and the prosecutor’s office colluded to place Kevin, Yusef, Raymond, Korey, and Antron in jail for being in a public park on the wrong day. The boys were all in the park on the night that a woman was brutally beaten and raped, and although they did not actually know each other the five of them were charged and convicted of the crime. They all did time ranging from 6 to 13 years. They grew up in prison. To get the full story I highly recommend you watch the movie on Netflix or the documentary which can probably be seen on PBS for free.
But this post is just to list a few things that truly truly disgusted me about this case.
The arrests and the trials
Linda Fairstein and the detectives that ‘investigated’ this case are trash. There really isn’t much more to say. They framed five kids based on their own racial prejudices and till this day maintain that they were right to do so.
The press was ridiculous, like I mean seriously. Looking at the articles from that original time characterizing these boys. Journalism isn’t a place for people with an opinion, news articles are not for op-ed pieces and do not have the right to spread racist rhetoric. Listen: any journalist worth their salt is aware of the impact of media in public opinion and has a responsibility to spread news and not opinions. That being said when viewing news always check who the news site is owned by. Who their biggest advertisers are, who the writer is and all of that before agreeing with what you read.
It took the New York courts ELEVEN years to settle with these men after they ruined their lives and NYPD continued to try to make it seem as if these boys were guilty. I just-
The “Grab them by the P*ssy” President had an opinion and tried to get these CHILDREN put to death like how-I can’t even.
This had happened before the Central Park Jogger Case and could happen again.
And don’t forget to watch When They See Us on Netflix!
Thanks for reading,