When They See US
When They See Us is a new Netflix docuseries directed by African American producer/director Ava DuVernay. The four episodes chronicle the horrific false imprisonment of five African American and Latino boys, ranging in ages 14-16. It is based on a true story that happened in New York City in 1989 when a black man brutally beat and raped a white female jogger in Central Park.
During this same time, several other rapes occurred in New York, but those crimes didn’t get the same attention because the victims were African American women and the media didn’t cover those rapes. However, this rape of this white woman became a media and political frenzy.
These young boys were coerced to confess by the New York detectives and police officers even though there was no physical evidence linking them to the rape. From the very beginning, an overzealous prosecutor wanted badly to get a conviction. She committed many unethical wrongs. She saw these boys as animals.
Every segment of society failed these young boys, including police officers, detectives, prosecutors, jurors, judges, correctional officers, other inmates, and so forth. After the real rapist confessed to the actual crime, the State of New York eventually exonerated the young men and gave them a $41 million settlement. The money wasn’t worth the hell they experienced.
Based on Twitter, many African Americans couldn’t watch the first five minutes of docuseries. A tsunami of emotions such as anger, deep pain, and sadness flooded the souls of African Americans. These kids were so young and vulnerable. Their fate was left to adults who should have been seeking justice, instead of convictions. However, the system only saw these young men as “animals.” If these young boys went through this terrible ordeal and survived, then America should watch their ordeal.
Hopefully, this docuseries will inspire America, especially Black America, to active in reforming the criminal justice system. Our kids are depending on us.