The Central Park Five: Their Story

June 25, 2014 CLEE25 Leave a Comment

The Central Park Five

The Central Park Five airs 10 p.m. Thursday, June 26 on WPT.

In 1989, five teenagers, all black and Latino, walked to Central Park. Along the way they met up with a crowd of over 20 other teens. The night was not innocent, but as those familiar with the Central Park jogger case know, the events of the night would later be greatly manipulated to include crimes that were not committed by the five teens.

Upon leaving the park, the five were arrested for “unlawful assembly” and were told that they would be released in the morning. That release never happened. That same night, a severely injured white woman was found in Central Park, and from then on, the teens’ questioning took a turn.

By the time the extensive, underhanded questioning ended, the group was wrongly convicted of raping the woman in Central Park. Each served six to 13 years in prison, based on verbal statements alone.

Back in April 2013, Ken Burns gave the group a chance to tell their side of the story, a tale of youth lost during a time of fear and upheaval. Burns’ The Central Park Five interviewed the Harlem natives, who at the time of the conviction were between 14 and 16 years old.

The film chronicles the Central Park jogger case from the perspective of the five men whose lives were forever changed by the failure of the justice system. It also features interviews from journalists, family members and others who were involved in the case.

With the recent news of a tentative $40 million settlement for the “Central Park five,” this documentary is not to be missed. Watch an updated version of this film 10 p.m. Thursday, June 26 on Wisconsin Public Television, or watch online now.

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