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Movie Review - "When They See Us"-netflix - TV/Movies - Nairaland

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Movie Review - "When They See Us"-netflix by MzDeeb(f): 11:48pm On Jun 11

Yesterday, I sat down to watch the series last night, expecting only to watch the first episode before going to sleep as usual, but I couldn't help but watch each bit of it all at once. It is agonizing to see these 14 to 16-year-olds so brutalized.

The story depicts a vivid, sympathetic, and human portrait of 5 young men who have been wrongly accused of rape, sexual assault etc.

On 19th April 1989, 28-year-old white jogger Trisha Meili was severely beaten and brutally raped in Central Park. Her body was dragged over 300 feet to a shallow ravine, where she was left for dead.

On that same night, Five young men who were seen in Central Park that night —14-year-olds Raymond Santana and Kevin Richardson, 15-year-olds Antron McCray and Yusef Salaam and 16-year-old Corey Wise were arrested and brought in for hours and hours of grueling questioning, in some cases without their parents present. No one had their moorings at the ready, except maybe Yusef’s mom who came to the precinct and demanded to see her (minor) son. She knew her rights, for as much as it could help Yusef. But Antron's Father forced Antron to admit to a crime just because the police officer made they believe they were going to release them if he cooperated

Fairstein saw “animals” and “little thugs.” The detectives questioned the boys for over 30 hours without food or sleep, and without any kind of legal representation, their confessions are contradictory and heartbreakingly naive. Kevin is so young at 14 that he visibly panics when the cop interviewing him starts describing sexual acts. Korey stutters earnestly through his own statement, saying, “This is my first … extreme I did to any kind of female.”��. The most painful part is that the only reason Korey Wise went down to the precinct in the first place was to be helpful to his friend Yusef.

The prosecutor Linda Fairstein was so hellbent on pinning the crime on these five boys that she directed the police to coerce false confessions out of them. Even at that, confessions made no iota of sense, but Linda ensured she reshaped the facts to align with their contradictory confessions, reality be damned. Alas! It was a game of politics to her.

They signed confessions and appeared on video stating that they had witnessed one of the others rape Meili. Many details in their statements – including the location, and description of the events – did not tally with all the forensic evidences eg Sock DNA. They were charged guilty and sentenced to imprisonment. They all served btw 6-13years. Korey Wise served 13 years.

In 2014, the men were awarded a $41m settlement, about $1m for each year spent in prison, even at that the state still refused to take responsibility for the wrongful convictions.


It’s so excruciating to watch as the lives of these men and their families were destroyed by a legal system interested in n convictions not justice.

There are times when I wanted to enter into my screen and beat the hell outta Linda and the detectives. I literally wept like a child all through the episodes.

I wept because of the injustice given to the black community. I wept because of the level of poverty and ignorance amongst the black- If the parents had enough money and where educated, I'm sure they would have gotten a very good lawyer and they would know better than to listen to the lies of the detectives. They won't have forced the kids to testify against themselves.

I hope justice is brought back to the system soonest!

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