Director Ava DuVernay has signed on to bring the infamous case of ‘The Central Park Five’ to Netflix.

The five-part miniseries follows the case of the five young Black men wrongly convicted of the rape of Trisha Meili in Central Park in 1989. The five men were eventually freed in 2002 after DNA evidence exonerated them. Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise spent over a decade in prison.  

“I had an extraordinary experience working with Netflix on 13th and am overjoyed to continue this exploration of the criminal justice system as a narrative project with Cindy Holland and the team there. The story of the men known as the Central Park Five has riveted me for more than two decades. In their journey, we witness five innocent young men of color who were met with injustice at every turn — from coerced confessions to unjust incarceration to public calls for their execution by the man who would go on to be the president of the United States,” DuVernay said in a statement.

The limited series will dedicate each episode to each of the five teenagers. It will span from 1989 to 2014. President Donald Trump spent more than $85,000 on full-page ads in New York City’s major newspapers demanding the return of the death penalty.

Cindy Holland, Vice President of Original Content for Netflix added “This is one of the most talked-about cases of our time and Ava’s passionate vision and masterful direction will bring the human stories behind the headlines to life in this series. After powerfully reframing the public conversation about criminality and injustice in 13th, Ava now turns a new lens to a case that exposes deep flaws in our criminal justice system.”

This is Ava DuVernay’s second project at Netflix. Her first project, the Oscar-nominated 13th explored the mass incarceration of Black men and the criminal justice system in America. This isn’t the first exploration into The Central Park Five case.

Ken Burns produced a long form PBS documentary, The Central Park Five in 2012. 


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