Where Are The Central Park Five Now And What Is 'When They See Us' About?
3 June 2019, 13:30 | Updated: 3 June 2019, 20:26
Netflix's new crime drama 'When They See Us' is about the real-life Central Park jogger case from 1989 - and the five African American and Hispanic teens who were wrongfully committed.
Ava DuVernay's poignant new miniseries exposes how the US justice system failed five children from Harlem, New York, when they wrongfully convicted them of the brutal rape of investment banker Trisha Meili.
The children - Korey Wise, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam and Raymond Santana - were then referred to collectively as the 'Central Park Five'.
Not only were the kids targeted because of their race, they were coerced into making false confessions, resulting in them serving time for a crime they didn't commit.
It was only in 2002 - 12 years after the boys were convicted - that the real culprit, Matias Reyes, confessed to the crime. Reyes was already serving time at the Auburn Correctional Facility for the murder of Lourdes Gonzalez, a pregnant mother-of-three whose children listened to the attack from the next room.
Not only did his account corroborate the evidence and witnesses testimonies, his DNA matched the samples recovered from the crime scene.
After Reyes' confession, the Central Park Five (by that point men in their twenties) were finally exonerated in 2002. In 2014, they received $41million in the settlement case which was supported by Mayor De Blasio at the time, but New York City failed to admit any wrongdoing in the 1989 investigation and court trial.
Where are the Central Park Five now?
The fourth, 90-minute instalment of the Netflix show focuses on the experience of Korey Wise (played by Jharrel Jerome) - the only defendant who was tried as an adult.
Despite the fact Korey was not on the list of suspects, police convinced him to accompany his friend Yusef to the precinct, before allegedly beating the child and coercing him into making a false confession, in which he described using a pipe to beat the woman.
He was fifteen years old at the time of questioning, but by the time the trial came around, he was legally an adult.
Korey was exposed to brutality in prison. Not only was he beaten on multiple occasions - by both prison guards and other inmates - he was forced to choose solitary confinement, purely in order to survive.
Wise ended up serving a total of 11.5 years in prison, and received $12.2million in the settlement.
Korey is the only member of the five still living in New York City, where he's been helping the wrongfully accused with the Korey Wise Innocence Project. The initiative was set up in 2015 at the Colorado Law School and offers pro-bono legal counsel.
Raymond Santana Jr.
Then 14, Raymond (Freddy Miyares) was sentenced to five years after being falsely convicted of rape, assault, robbery and riot charges.
Unable to find work after being incarcerated, Raymond turned to drug dealing and was imprisoned as an adult.
Raymond now has a teenage daughter named Melleah and also moved to Georgia. Santana founded Park Madison NYC apparel company when he moved out of the city.
McCray (Jovan Adepo) was 15 when he was convicted on rape, assault, robbery and riot charges. He was released after serving six years.
Antron is now married with six children. He moved to Atlanta, Georgia after being exonerated and was the first of the wrongfully accused men to leave New York City.
Salaam (Chris Chalk) was 14 at the time jurors found him guilty of rape, assault, robbery and riot.
According to Salaam, he was interrogated by the police for more than 24 hours, being deprived of food, drink and sleep. They then forced a false confession out of him, which ultimately led to his conviction.
Yusef now resides in Georgia, with his wife and ten kids. He's published several book and has become a public speaker, advocating change in the US criminal justice system. He also received a lifetime achievement award from Barack Obama in 2016.
Kevin (Justin Cunningham) was also 14 when he was accused of the attack on Trisha Meili.
He was convicted of rape, attempted murder, sodomy, assault and robbery, serving over five years.
Kevin now resides in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters. He was also honoured with a diploma by Bronx Prep Academy in 2017.