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Ava DuVernay to helm Netflix series about the Central Park Five

She'll dive into the infamous case that even captivated Trump.


Christine Friar


Posted on Jul 7, 2017   Updated on May 23, 2021, 12:38 am CDT

Hot off the success of her 2016 Netflix documentary 13th, writer-director Ava DuVernay has announced she’ll produce a new five-part miniseries with the streaming giant about the Central Park Five.

The notorious case began in the spring of 1989, when five young black and Latino men were wrongly convicted of a brutal rape that took place in the famous New York City park. It wasn’t until 2002, after over a decade behind bars, that Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise were freed when DNA evidence proved they weren’t responsible for the crime.

Like 13th, it sounds like the miniseries will have a lot to examine when it comes to the intersection of America’s treatment of non-white men and our criminal justice system.

“The story of the men known as the Central Park Five has riveted me for more than two decades,” DuVernay said in a statement. “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 the Hollywood Reporter points out, President Donald Trump was among the most vocal in the media during the Central Park Five witch hunt. “He spent a reported $85,000 on full-page ads in the city’s major daily newspapers that called for New York to reinstate the death penalty. Even though evidence has since vindicated the five young men, Trump has referred to them as guilty as recently as 2016.”

The limited series will “offer a breakdown of how the criminal justice system handled” the case, with each episode focusing on one of the five Harlem teenagers. No release date has been announced.

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*First Published: Jul 7, 2017, 12:38 pm CDT