By: Samera Adam
Ava DuVernay produced, co-wrote, and directed ‘When They See Us’, a four-part Netflix original crime drama miniseries that premiered on May 31, 2019. It is based on the 1989 Central Park jogger case and follows the lives and families of the five Black male suspects. The five were wrongfully convicted and prosecuted for the rape and abuse of a white woman in New York City.
The show starts off with the 5 main characters Raymond, Kevin, Korey, Yusef, and Antron hanging around in their neighborhood of Harlem. At this point of the story none of them have met yet, except for the 2 best friends Yusuf and Korey. It continues with them and their different friend groups all heading for Central Park after sunset. They didn’t know that by going to the park, they were walking into trouble.
Instantly, when the groups got to the park, policemen surround the boys, and the groups they were with. The majority of the boys were able to run away but Antron and Raymond were tackled down. While Kevin, the tiniest one, was beaten with a helmet. The 3 boys were then taken to the precinct where they were interrogated for hours.
Korey and Yusuf thought that they had gotten away; they were wrong.
Days later, Yusuf and Korey were stopped by a group of policemen walking back home. Yusuf “fit the description” so was taken for questioning. The police officer then told Korey he could leave unless he just wanted to tag along and keep his friend company. Which as a loyal friend, he did.
During the long period that they were interrogated, they all somehow told the cops what they wanted to hear (some were told to do so by family or lawyers), as a group of scared teens will do. They were then recorded and they played their fake confessions in court where they were taken to trial.
The show then continues with all their different experiences with being incarcerated and finally getting freed after the actual rapist came out with the truth.