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  • E-News U. Contributor 8:59 am on April 12, 2013 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , WHRO-TV 15   

    ‘Central Park Five’ screening at Hampton U. 

    By Keilah Joyner

    Imagine having spent between six and 13 years confined to jail cells for crimes you did not commit? In a country that professes to provide justice and equality for all, the ultimate miscarriage of justice occurred in 1989.

    “The Central Park Five” is a riveting documentary that examines the 1989 case of one Latino and four black boys wrongly accused and convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park.

    Created, directed, and produced by Ken Burns, David McMahon and Sarah Burns, “The Central Park Five” aims to reveal the truth behind the case that shook the nation by surprise from 1989 until now.
    On the evening of April 19, 1989, Trisha Meili, 28, went for a jog in New York’s Central Park. Nearly four hours later, she was found beaten, raped, and bounded.

    Antron McCray, 15, Kevin Richardson, 14, Raymond Santana, 14, Kharey Wise, 15, and Yusef Salaam, 15, were in the same park that night, the teenagers acknowledged to police.
    During the period of rising crime rates and racial tension, New York City Police Department was under pressure solve the high-profile sex crime, even if that meant arresting five teenage boys for the major felony.

    Once arrested and transported to the police station, the boys were pressured during police interrogations to implicate one another in the crime. Later all the boys except Yusef Salaam were charged with the crime.
    The New York Daily News covered the maximum sentencing hearing.

    “Sooner or later the truth will come out,” said Salaam. “Time can never contain a black man as long as he knows he was convicted falsely.”

    Yusef Salaam words came into fruition in 2002. That year, Matias Reyes, a male convict, confessed to beating and raping the Wall Street executive.

    In 2002, the convictions of four of the five boys, now men, were dismissed, but the damage has long been done.

    The night of the Central Park rape changed the lives of McCray, Richardson, Santana, Wise, and Salaam forever.

    “The Central Park Five” documents the crime, whereabouts, and how the men are attempting to cope in a country that prides itself on justice that served them a great injustice.

    The April 11 20-minute screening of “The Central Park Five” at Hampton University shows how 24 years later the case still captures the attention and questions of many people.

    “A lot of people did not do their jobs,” said New York Times reporter Jim Dwyer on camera. “The police, reporters, and lawyers failed.”

    Today, civil unrest and crime rates declined significantly in New York City. “We are evolving, but there are still some things that are going to shock our senses,” said HU Assistant Professor Wayne Dawkins during a panel discussion after the screening.

    Justice should not be limited to those who are of one race and one stature. The Central Park Five is just one of the documented cases of where our justice system has failed.

    The men falsely accused of raping Trisha Meili are filing a lawsuit against New York City.

    “The Central Park Five” can be viewed in its entirety on April 16 on PBS stations.

    The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications

    ‘Central Park Five’ trailer: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2380247/

    New York Daily News coverage of the sentencing: http://www.nydailynews.com/services/central-park-five/central-park-attackers-sentenced-max-article-1.1304884

     
  • E-News U. Contributor 8:54 am on April 12, 2013 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , WHRO-TV 15   

    Powerful discussion of ‘Central Park Five’ film at Hampton U. 

    By Dedrain Davis

    Nineteen eighty nine: New York City, America’s biggest city was facing issues of the decade. Social and racial tensions ran high.

    Released at the end of 2012, “The Central Park Five” a documentary film by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon, examined the Central Park Jogger case of 1989. The film includes inside commentary of major social and political players in New York at the time.

    “In 1984, the crack epidemic increased crime” says Ed Koch, mayor at the time. The Rev. Al Sharpton said “New York is now the capital of racial violence.” There was the Howard Beach case (1986), Tawana Brawley case (1987) and now the riveting story of the Central Park Five.

    On Thursday April 11, Hampton University’s Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications hosted a screening and panel discussion about the “Central Park Five” film. The event began with a welcome by Drew Berry, a visiting professor at Scripps Howard School. Barbara Lee Hamm, host and executive producer with WHRO-TV 15, then introduced the film and acted as the evenings’ moderator for the panel discussion. The 20-minute preview of “The Central Park Five” was just enough to leave students on the edge of their seats and spark a valuable panel discussion.

    On the panel was Earl Caldwell, writer-in-residence at Scripps Howard, Eric Claville, assistant professor of political science and history and Wayne Dawkins, assistant professor and author at Scripps Howard.

    Claville, also a lawyer, was able to offer informative material discussing the interrogation tactics of the police involved in the Central Park Five case, specifically the history of “custodial interrogation.”

    In response to a question from the audience, Dawkins, a New York native, added “Blacks were collateral damage.” He went on to emphasize the pressures of society and the media for the police to find suspects. Audience members offered commentary and asked questions that made for a passionate and informative discussion.

    Hamm ended the night by asking the panel “Can the Central Park Five” happen in 2013?”
    In response, Caldwell referred to New York’s’ “Stop and Frisk Law” that allows police to question and search and person suspected of committing a crime. “Stop and frisk is a proxy for black and brown kids ages 13 to 22,” said Caldwell. “If this isn’t racial profiling I don’t know what is. Some black people supported it.”

    Claville ended the discussion saying that education and entertainment plays a major role in our communities. “It takes more than a village,” said Claville. “It takes a community to have a better society.”
    Ciera Edwards, a sophomore business student from Minnesota said “This was a thought- provoking case, especially for the students my age.”

    The documentary in its entirety will be aired 9 p.m. April 16 on WHRO TV15.

    The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications

    Custodial interrogation: http://www.mirandarights.org/custodialinterrogation.html

    Stop and frisk data: http://www.nyclu.org/content/stop-and-frisk-data

     
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