Title: When They See Us
Author: Ava DuVernay
Released: May 31, 2019
The documentary portrays the events of “five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they’re falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park. Based on the true story.” The case is legitimate and widely known as the Central Park Jogger Case, 4 out of the 5 teenagers were exonerated after serving some years in prison whereas one teenager out of the five was incarcerated for several years due to being tried as an adult. Having the teenagers tried in a court of law put themselves and their families at risk of never seeing the light of day anymore and the fear of being labelled sex offenders which put a permanent mark on them. Wise (one of the teenagers tried as adult) meets the rapist at isolation facilities who committed the murder, confesses, and came forward giving all the evidence needed to free the teenagers from prison.
The documentary portrayed legal concepts of ethical practice of law. In the second episode of ‘When They See Us’ we are witnessing a trial for three teenagers that are Yusef, Antron, and Raymond. The trial begins with each side explains their case to the jury. The attorneys expressed the defendants by explaining the lack of physical evidence the court has on the boys. The Review Geek states, “the discrepancy of their testimonies and their coercing into false confessions. The state uses the shock factor by showing pictures of the victim and descriptions of her injuries, but are also struggling as the DNA doesn’t match with any of the defendants. However, Linda is determined to get them convicted at any cost.” The plaintiff who is Patricia Meili has no recollection of what happened at the park, she has double vision, she states, and lost her sense of smell. Antron’s father took the stand and explained he was blackmailed because if his son cooperated with what they were asking of him he would be able to go home and that didn’t happen. Also, Antron made a confession on tape and these confessions were shared at court. Korey took the stand and told them he was slapped by the cops and if he admitted to to the crime he’d be allowed to go home, but the Stated disregarded his testimony. The episode ends with the jury saying their verdict and all of them were found guilty.
My reaction to the cultural source made me upset that the criminal justice was corrupt and still corrupt. The legal concepts were portrayed correctly in the sense the teenagers were given trial, evidence was presented, and how the attorneys were able to talk about the defendants to being them justice. Most certainly we can’t deny the boys were not exercised of their fifth amendment rights which is the right to remain silent. A thing to note, the boys were coerced to be giving false confessions which ended them in a hole deeper than they could’ve imagined. In this day and age it is important and vital to fight for rights of black people and people of color because of these cases happen to minorities. This year in May a black man was murdered in cold blood by a white cop, he was saying “I can’t breathe” and this phrase alone made many terrified of how the criminal justice system Is prejudiced. Chauvin is charged with first-degree murder thanks to petitions and social media for bringing this situation to light and bringing justice of George Floyd. The State in the Central Park 5 case were all the white people wringing the defendants and making them guilty because of the color of their skin. All evidence presented was not even theirs. The DNA sample, the hair sample, and the sock and semen. It was all the State doing to make sure they are charged guilty. Minorities deserve better and with Generation Z along the masses on social media, the world is slowly and greatly bringing those justice due to the messed up criminal justice system.