Here’s another ‘must see’ if it’s somehow slipped through the cracks (as it had for me until this weekend…)
‘The Central Park Five’ is another great documentary by Ken Burns. This one focuses on the case of the five black and brown teenagers in New York City who were tried and convicted of assaulting and raping a young woman in Central Park. Circumstantial evidence and mainly, the coerced confessions of the kids was more than enough to send them upstate for a violent crime none of them were a part of.
As mentioned in the film, the ‘lynch mob’ mentality grabbed ahold of this case and the kids really didn’t have much of a chance. (And yes, this film is a great complement to ’13th’.) A metropolis already boiling over in tension, a young white female victim vs. five boys who were ‘wilding’, and a future Republican presidential nominee going on TV and taking out a full page ad in the New York Times calling for the death penalty. (Yep, him.)
The conscience of the person who committed the actual crime eventually led to the legal exoneration of the boys, so they were vindicated. But that part of their lives is forever ‘gone’. Not to mention the psychological trauma that obviously can never be taken away from being behind bars (for something again, you know the whole time you didn’t do.)
PBS is streaming ‘The Central Park Five’ for free on their website. If you haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet, now’s your chance.