Central Park Five Speaks Ahead of ‘When They See Us’ Premiere

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm May 13, 2019

Director Ava DuVernay’s highly anticipated miniseries “When They See Us,” the true story of the five Harlem teenage boys falsely accused of a brutal attack on a White woman in Central Park in 1989, debuts on Netflix on May 31. Ahead of the premiere, the men known as the Central Park Five are telling their stories in their own words.

Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise all sat down with CBS Sunday Morning correspondent Maurice DuBois for an emotional interview that aired yesterday (May 12). In it, the men discussed the trauma they experienced, the events that led to their coerced confessions and the life-altering impact of spending years in jail for a crime they didn’t commit.

Salaam described being broken down by the police in the station: “Soon as we get in, they separate us. And they start working on us. And, I’m hearing Korey being physically beaten in the next room and I’m immediately beyond afraid.”

DuVernay, who joined the men for the interview, has a clear mission for the project. “I’m asking the question to everyone: What do you see when you see Black boys? And that’s a painful answer, because I know what the answer is for many people,” she said. “It’s exactly what these boys were called. Wolf pack. Animals. Criminals. So much so that they could be tossed aside on a case that was made from a complete lie.”

Their convictions were overturned in 2002 after DNA evidence exonerated them, and they were subsequently awarded a $41 million settlement. But Salaam made it clear that “no amount of money could’ve given our time back.” Watch the interview here.

Tonight (May 13), NBC’s “Nightly News with Lester Holt” will air another interview with the Black and Latinx men. In it, Richardson talks about the upcoming Netflix show: “With this series … you see everything that we went through and you see how our life transpired from 1989 to 2012,” he said. View a sneak peek of tonight’s interview here, then watch the official trailer for “When They See Us” below.