Thanks to Netflix, Ava DuVernay will bring the Central Park Five’s story to life on the small screen.
The two-time Oscar nominee will write and direct the 5-episode mini-series that’s based on the infamous 1989 rape case that landed five innocent teens in prison for up to 13 years. According to Variety, the limited series will offer a breakdown of how the criminal justice system handled each phase of the infamous case, each part focusing on one of the five Harlem teenagers. In addition, the series will span from the years 1989 to 2014.
In a press release, DuVernay discussed why this is the story she wanted to tell.
“The story of the men known as Central Park Five has riveted me for more than two decades. In their journey, we witness five innocent young men of color who were met with injustice at every turn – from coerced confessions to unjust incarceration to public calls for their execution by the man who would go on to be the President of the United States.”
As Variety pointed out, this will be DuVernay’s second Netflix project—her first was the riveting mass incarceration documentary The 13th.
“I had an extraordinary experience working with Netflix on 13th and am overjoyed to continue this exploration of the criminal justice system as a narrative project with Cindy Holland and the team there,” said DuVernay.
As we previously reported, the five young men—Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam and Kharey Wise —were accused and convicted of beating and raping 28-year-old Trisha Meili in New York City’s Central Park back in 1989. The youngest was 14 at the time of their arrest; the oldest was 16.
However, the teens always claimed that they were innocent and that the New York police department strong armed them into making incriminating statements against themselves and each other. Dubbed the “Central Park Five,” the group was later were exonerated in 2002 after career criminal Matias Reyes confessed to the heinous crime and DNA evidence backed up his claim.
A year later, the men, who had already served their sentences, filed civil lawsuits against the City of New York and the police offices and prosecutors who worked on their convictions. The five have since reached settlements with New York City and the state totaling nearly $45 million.
We cannot wait to stream this! Congrats Ava!