The series chronicles the notorious case of five teenagers of color, labeled the Central Park Five, who were wrongly accused of a crime they did not commit

By Aurelie Corinthios
March 01, 2019 11:27 AM
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Ava DuVernay is telling the story of five men who were wrongly accused of a crime they did not commit.

On Friday, the Wrinkle in Time director announced her new Netflix limited series, When They See Us. Based on a true story that gripped the country, the project was originally titled Central Park Five and chronicles the notorious case of five teenagers of color, labeled the Central Park Five, who were convicted of a rape they did not commit.

The new title aims to break the men free from that moniker.

Netflix

“In 1989, five black and brown teen boys were wrongly accused of a crime they did not commit and branded The Central Park Five, a moniker that has followed them since that time,” says DuVernay, 46, in a statement. “In 2019, our series gives the five men a platform to finally raise their voices and tell their full stories. In doing so, Korey, Antron, Raymond, Kevin and Yusef also tell the story of many young people of color unjustly ensnared in the criminal justice system. We wanted to reflect this perspective in our title, embracing the humanity of the men and not their politicized moniker.”

Netflix
Netflix

The four-part limited series will focus on the five teenagers from Harlem: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise. Beginning in the spring of 1989, when the teenagers were first questioned about the assault and rape of white female jogger Trisha Meili, the series will span 25 years, highlighting their exoneration in 2002 and the settlement reached with the city of New York in 2014.

Netflix

When They See Us was created by DuVernay, who also co-wrote and directed the four parts, which arrive as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the incident in the park. The story is told from the perspective of the five men.

When They See Us premieres May 31 on Netflix.