When They See Us: A Review and Comparison

Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana Jr. and Korey Wise. Five minority men who have had chunks of their lives stripped away from them due to false rape and assault charges in the infamous Central Park Jogger case. Written off as guilty before even given a fair trial, despite having zero evidence to prove their involvement. Receiving sentences ranging from 5-15 years in prison, these men had not only innocence but one could go as far as to say mental stability stripped from them as well.

Shane Piche, Michael Wysolovski and Brock Tuner. Three white men who all literally received little to no incarceration time for sexual assaults. Piche, a 25 year old former school bus driver was sentenced to 10 years probation for raping a 14 year old girl…who now suffers from depression and lord knows whatever else because of his unthinkable actions. The presiding judge James P. McClusky said due to there only being one victim, and no prior arrests, that Shane Piche did not deserve to be sent to prison. He also said Piche was at “low risk of committing the crime again.”
Michael Wysolovski lured a 16 year old girl to his home in Georgia and legitimately kept her as a sex slave for a year. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison BUT because of eight months already served in jail, he was granted time served and has been allowed to serve the rest of his sentence on probation. Thanks, Justice System.
Brock Turner, the most famous of the three was a “young, promising athlete.” A student-athlete at Stanford, who was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman was sentenced to six months in jail (only serving three) and it was because the judge said, “he had his whole life in front of him.”

Did the Central Park Five not have their whole lives in front of them? Did they not have dreams and aspirations? What about the color of their skin threatened people so much? Guess not.

Now it’s time to go there. During the case in 1989, our now president Donald Trump, spent roughly $85k putting four FULL PAGE ads in a New York with the words, “Bring Back The Death Penalty, Bring Back Our Police!”
Also writing, “I want to hate these murderers and I always will. I am not looking to psychoanalyst or understand them, I am looking to punish them.” Even going as far as to say, “Maybe hate is what we need if we’re gonna get something done.” in an interview with CNN during that time. Considering comments about “shithole countries” like Haiti and Africa. We should not be shocked. Just in case you forgot: “Haiti? Why do we want people from Haiti here?” Then they got Africa. ‘Why do we want these people from all these shithole countries here? We should have more people from places like Norway.” A quote fitting since Salaam once said, “I look at Donald Trump, and I understand him as a representation of a symptom of America. We were convicted people of color because of our skin. People thought the worst of us. And this is all because of prominent New Yorkers – especially Donald Trump.” While on his campaign in 2016, POTUS was asked about the case and responded, “They admitted they were guilty. The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous.”

It amazes me that even with knowing the semen found at the scene didn’t match any nor the accused, discrepancies in all five stories, wrong locations named AND MORE…five lives were still altered in ways that could never be changed. In 2016, Yusef Salaam recalled how he heard Korey Wise being beaten in the next room over then being threaded with next. These stories (later recanted to not guilty pleas) were coerced and falsified out of fear. There was no evidence against them. In fact, the entire case was built on falsified statements. Something that Linda Fairstein wants to argue now.
It took time, over 10 years, in fact but those young men were exonerated when the actual rapist came forward. Despite all of this and even the settlement of $41 million; nothing will replace the innocence these men lost. Especially Korey Wise who was 16 at the time so was tried as an adult, spending the longest time in prison.

Ava DuVernay – director of Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time – wrote and directed the Netflix original movie, When They See Us. I am encouraging every reader black, white, purple or orange to watch the four part series. It’s emotional, it made me cry and it brought out emotions I thought I had taken care of. I once almost lost my freedom due to a false rape allegation. These type of things have to stop, America. This movie is the perfect example of why movements like Black Lives Matter were started. Yes, all lives matter, nobody ever said they didn’t. But all lives WON’T MATTER until BLACK LIVES MATTER. Stop avoiding the situation by finding an escape route and face it….this crap is played.

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