One evening in New York, New York, three decades ago, about 30 black teenagers went to Central Park for a few hours of uncontrolled chaos.
Pedestrians and cyclists were robbed and beaten, two men battled unconscious – and a young investment banker jogging dragged into the forest, raped and beaten furiously before being left behind for death.
Trisha Meili, a 28-year-old white woman, had her skull smashed and so much blood shed that her survival after 12 days in a coma was almost miraculous.
Crime became internationally notorious from one day to the next, and for many grasped the extent to which a crime-stricken New York had been sunk.
Antron McCray (left) and Korey Wise (right) were one of five teenagers convicted of the rape of 28-year-old Trisha Meili in New York
Yusef Salaamn (left) and Kevin Richardson (right) were the victims of corrupt, brutal and racist police and prosecutors
Raymond Santana was one of the teenagers convicted for the rape and other crimes that night
The mayor Ed Koch called it & # 39; the crime of the century & # 39; and compared it to the wild young gang that was portrayed in the novel A Clockwork Orange.
A New York property magnate, Donald Trump, made a number of full-page newspaper advertisements requesting the restitution of the death penalty. & # 39; You'd better believe I hate these people & # 39 ;, he said on TV.
Four black and one Latino teens were convicted that night of rape and other crimes, shouting the shivers of fellow New Yorkers in their description to the police of their behavior in the park as a & # 39; wilding & # 39; sent.
Low-crime and increasingly gentrified, New York is now a very different city from that of 1989, but racial tensions are still far from the surface.
Because the case of the Central Park Five has once again caused a huge queue that has revealed profound divisions about what happened that night. The touch paper is illuminated this time by When They See Us, an emotional dramatization of the case.
Made for online broadcaster Netflix, the four-part mini series was directed by the acclaimed African-American filmmaker Ava DuVernay.
In her black and white storytelling, the five are innocent victims of corrupt, brutal and racist police and prosecutors. They are raided and misled by carrying out false confessions that imply each other, which they later withdraw, while prosecuting lawyers ignore evidence indicating their innocence of rape.
Trisha Meili, a 28-year-old white woman, is jogging through Cnetral Park in New York when she was attacked. (Stock image)
A four-part mini series When They See Us (photo), directed by the acclaimed African-American filmmaker Ava DuVernay, tells the events that unfolded after the attack
There was no physical evidence linking the five – two aged 14, two 15 and the fifth 16 – to the rape, the victim could not clearly remember anything, and none of the others who attacked that night identified one of the five.
Prosecutors relied on confessions with videotapes, which turned out to be sufficient for jurors in a city that was appalled by the crime.
The drama ends in a cheering tone in 2002, when they were sensationally released after a serial rapist claimed to have raped the jogger alone.
Matias Reyes, who was already serving a life sentence for other crimes, provided DNA that matched samples taken from and near the victim.
The five, who had been behind bars for between six and thirteen years, challenged the city for malicious persecution and racial discrimination.
There was no physical evidence linking the five – two aged 14, two 15 and the fifth 16 – with the rape. Pictured: drama when they see us
They received $ 45 million in compensation in 2014, although the city had never apologized and admitted no offenses by investigators.
In the series, DuVernay focused her anger on Linda Fairstein, a blonde prosecutor who oversaw the case against the five.
She comes across as an intolerant monster, describing the suspect as & # 39; small animals & # 39; and declares in the first episode: & # 39; Every black man who was in the park last night is a suspect. I need them all. & # 39;
When another prosecutor doubts the evidence against the five, Fairstein cautiously warns her: & # 39; It's too late. The whole country is watching. & # 39;
Until now, Mrs. Fairstein has been a heroine for the New York liberals as a passionate champion of female victims in a male-dominated legal world.
In 1989, she led a groundbreaking sexual crime unit that inspired the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She later became a successful novelist who wrote legal laws.
After an unfair conviction, they received compensation of $ 45 million in 2014. Pictured: Netflix drama when they see us
Or at least she did that until her publishers, Dutton in the United States and Little Brown in the United Kingdom, stopped her after the Netflix series caused a fierce reaction and a Twitter campaign called #CancelLindaFairstein.
Her literary agents also fell with her, while her old university and a charity for abuse victims forced her to resign from their councils.
The series – currently the most popular program on Netflix in the US – demanded a second scalp when Elizabeth Lederer, another prosecutor in the case, was forced to resign as a teacher at the prestigious Columbia Law School in New York following a protest by black students.
The school's dean said the mini-series was a & # 39; painful and vital-national conversation about race, identity, and criminal law & # 39; had fueled.
Mrs. Fairstein – played by Felicity Huffman, an actress who was recently convicted of paying an examiner to fake the results of her daughter's university – is now a pariah.
Even the editor of Glamor, who in 1993 made her one of the & # 39; women of the year & # 39; mentioned, it wrote & # 39; unambiguous & # 39; would not do the same today.
One could have assumed that so many respectable organizations would not have judged without being sure of all the facts. The accuracy of When They See Us must be impeccable?
Mrs Fairstein and others emphasize that this is not the case. The truth, as set out in many public records and cases, has been ignored, she says, by the & # 39; mob mentality that dominates social media & # 39; and a & # 39; reckless irresponsible filmmaker & # 39 ;.
Ms. Fairstein, 72, says she & # 39; slandered & # 39; is by a so-called & # 39; real & # 39; drama series that she says to be & # 39; so full of distortions and lies that it is an outright fabrication & # 39; is.
She cites several examples, including the series' claim that the five – Antron McCray, Korey Wise, Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson and Raymond Santana – were kept for many hours without food or access to their parents, and were not even allowed to use the toilet. .
And although the drama made her take over the police investigation from the beginning, she was only involved later, she says.
Ms. Fairstein also says that DuVernay has ignored other evidence against the five, such as the testimony of an African-American woman – the sister of a friend of Korey Wise – who insisted that he tell her that he was the raped woman & # 39; # 39; had held her and felt her breasts while the others attacked her.
Also never mentioned in the series is the testimony of Yusef Salaam that he entered Central Park with a 14 inch metal pipe.
The same type of weapon was used to kill both a school teacher in the park and the victim of rape, says Ms. Fairstein. The five were tried in two separate trials and both judges – both multiracial – knew very well that the actual rapist was free, says Ms. Fairstein.
Instead, the five were identified as & # 39; accomplices & # 39; accused on the basis of their confessions, in which they said they had held her legs and breasts, two admitting that they had climbed on her and had simulated sexual intercourse.
According to her, DuVernay easily had the & # 39; facts of the case & # 39; be able to discover from long court documents, witness statements and sworn testimonies from & # 39; more than 95 witnesses & # 39 ;.
That said, Ms. Fairstein believes it was right to rid them of the rape charges, but wrongly to set them free from the other charges – including assault, theft and riot – on which they had also been convicted.
She said earlier that she believed that she ran away with rapist Reyes & # 39; were that he had continued before he & # 39; the attack on the victim of rape & # 39; had completed. However, there is no evidence that Reyes does not acknowledge that he knew Wijs in prison.
Mrs Fairstein is certainly not the only one to claim that the five are not completely innocent, even if they have not actually committed rape.
Tim Clements, a co-prosecutor in the case, said last year that the facts and the law supported the convictions. New York officials still claim that the confessions were not enforced. Some remain convinced that the five have attacked the rape victim or assisted the rapist.
DuVernay refused to respond to Mrs. Fairstein's allegations, except to tweet: & # 39; Expected and typically … continue & # 39 ;.
Jonathan Moore, a lawyer representing four out of five, acknowledged that the filmmakers have no idea what Mrs. Fairstein and her colleagues said to each other, but he claims that the series & # 39; the essence of who she was & # 39; records.
This is not the first time that DuVernay has been accused of rewriting history at the expense of white people.
Her 2015 film, Selma, about Martin Luther King, Oscar was nominated. But historians praise it for portraying President Lyndon Johnson as a racist racist who tried to stop Dr. King when he was, in fact, a brave advocate of civil rights.
Insiders say that DuVernay was determined to ignore or denigrate any white person who played a positive role in the civil rights struggle.
Her insistence on rewriting the script – turning off everything that criticized Dr. King and sketching the rendering of LBJ – caused a bitter queue with the original British screenwriter Paul Webb.
Neither does DuVernay barely touch her Central Park drama about the investigation led by a black police officer.
Nor the fact that David Dinkins strongly condemned the five – and took their blame – in his successful campaign to become New York's first black mayor a few months later.
The accusation that Du Vernay has distorted the facts again has yielded little more than shrugging Mrs. Fairstein's opponents.
In these times of cowardly obedience by institutions to the anger of social media and hypersensitivity to racial repression, she is guilty as accused. She finally has her & # 39; award & # 39; some have said.
Meanwhile, the Central Park Five and their supporters have predictably used the renewed interest in the case to put Donald Trump in the spotlight. This month, Mr Trump – who did not explicitly advocate that the five receive the death penalty – said he did not apologize for his response in 1989.
& # 39; There you have people on both sides, & # 39; he said. & # 39; They have admitted their fault. & # 39; He added: & If you look at Linda Fairstein and some of the prosecutors, they think the city should never have settled that case – so let's leave it at that. & # 39;
It is not the first time that it seems that outrage over one injustice has produced another.
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