The release of Ava DuVernay’s Netflix miniseries “When They See Us”, which chronicles the ordeal and nightmare five teenage boys from Harlem had to go through after they were falsely accused of brutally assaulting and raping a white female and subsequently convicted in the famous Central Park Jogger case in 1989 re-awoke a nationwide conversation about how unfair the criminal justice system can be towards the minority.
Known as the Central Park Five, Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise – served between six and 13 years in prison. They were later exonerated in 2002 when rapist Matias Reyes confessed to the attack, with DNA evidence supporting his claim.
The popularity of the four-part true life story series manifested on Wednesday when Netflix took to Twitter to announce it has been the most-watched series on its platform in the United States every day since its release on May 31.
The aftermath of the series has also come with swift repercussions for the main prosecutors involved in the case.
Former Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor, Linda Fairstein, who was charged with handling the rape case, was forced to resign from her positions on several charity organizations and at Vassar College. Fairstein, who criticized the movie, also lost her book deal with Dutton Publishing, after having written 16 New York Times Bestselling crime novels.
Another prosecutor, Manhattan District Attorney Elizabeth Lederer was also forced to resign as a part-time professor at Columbia Law School on Wednesday after the Black Law Students Association called for her dismissal, the New York Daily News reports.
This comes after their call for her dismissal six years ago was ignored by authorities. The only action the school took was took remove the Central Park Five case from her online bio.
“Lederer is not the 1st prosecutor to send innocent Black and Latinx children to prison, nor will she be the last. Rather, the legal system as a whole, including legal education, endorses a carceral state that devalues the lives of Black and Brown people,” the association said in a statement.
New statement released from the @ColumbiaLaw Black Law Students Association— Barred and Boujee (@AudreLawdAMercy) June 11, 2019
Students call for #CentralPark5 prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer to be fired from her Lecturer in Law position
Also call on the law school to center anti-racism in its curriculum and pedagogy pic.twitter.com/U8By81KWBB
In 2014, the Central Park Five received a $41 million settlement from New York City, but it has now been discovered that they received an additional $3.9 million in 2016 out of which Korey Wise, the individual who served the longest prison time received $1.5 million, the New York Daily News reports.
Former co-defendants Yusef Salaam and Kevin Richardson received $650,000, while Raymond Santana received $500,000 and Antron McCray received $600,000.
The settlement was for the economic and emotional ruin they endured when they were incarcerated