Have you seen When They See Us on Netflix? The miniseries by Ava DuVernay about the so-called Central Park 5? Last night this was my flu binge, and I have to say if you have not watched it yet, please, please, please do. These boys, Yusef, Kevin, Raymond, Korey, and Antron, deserve people to see what happened to them as young boys. Through watching this I felt anger at the system that is so racially charged that it was considered ok to beat young boys into confessing to something they did not do in order to make puzzle pieces fit where they didn’t in a crime. It makes me angry that a woman’s gruesome assault was not properly investigated, in order to fit into another what the so-called justice system wanted the results to be.
It is easy to be angry at the detectives, Linda Fairstein, and Elizabeth Lederer, for the injustices imparted on these boys. Full disclosure, I was so angry that I immediately signed a petition to have Linda Fairstein’s novels dropped from Amazon after watching the first episode. I was so angry watching this woman maliciously interrogate and destroy children in the name of helping women who are assaulted. I smiled to see that Elizabeth Lederer will not be teaching at Columbia Law this fall. But they are not the cause of this injustice. They the faces in THiS case of a system that is designed to place people of colour lower than white people. A system that is designed to allow assumptions to be made about the “type of person” who would attack a 28 year old white woman jogging through Central Park. A system that, even though these men have been exonerated, and the system exposed for what it is and who had caused these men to lose their youth, their ability to make a living outside of prison, to be locked in solitary confinement at age 16 to avoid being beaten and raped in prison, has still yet TO THIS DAY make a public apology to them. The President of the United States paid for an ad in the NYTimes at the time demanding that they bring back the death penalty to punish CHILDREN flatly refuses to apologize, because “they admitted it. So they did it” in the most pitifully ironic statement from that man.
If you haven’t, please watch it.