Movie title: When They See Us
Written by: Ava DuVernay
The movie ‘when they see us’ is perhaps one of the most moving and emotional movies I have ever watched, an heartbreaking movie that would make anyone who watches it pour out his/her emotions, a movie that increases one’s adrenaline to run faster across one’s spines.
’When they see us’ is a very horrendous real-life story about race and justice, written by Ava DuVernay, this movie exactly depicts its name and overwhelmingly enlightens one about the racial injustice the black community in the US go through, it is an amazing cast, the acting was spot on, and I must admit I admired the characters who carried out their roles solidly.
The movie, one would call a documentary, depicts the hash unmerited treatment and racial injustice black and colored dudes suffer in the US, the movie, a four-part series lays bare the injustice and torture five teenage boys in 1989 in New York City had had to endure, when they were arrested and prosecuted for various charges related to the rape and assault of a white woman who went jogging in Central Park, a crime they know nothing about.
There were about 30 boys in the park that night, hanging out in Central Park, New York, some of them causing trouble, including hurting and harassing homeless people.
The five teenage boys, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, and Raymond Santana were picked up by police in a sweep of the park, but it is not until later when that injured jogger was found and pressure increases.
The young teenage boys, who were separately interrogated, were coerced and intimidated to confess while been set up to lie against each other.
The police interrogated these teenagers without the presence of their parents or any counsel, however the teenagers who had the thought they each would be made to go home if they say what the police wanted them to say, yielded to lie in confession to the charges against each other, I almost broke down when one parent out of fear actually encouraged his son to sign the confession so they would be made to go home, this actually elicited my empathy, and the injustice they were subjected to.
I felt so much frustration and grief when Korey Wise who wasn’t considered a suspect at the time but accompanied his friend Salaam to the police station to offer him support got arrested and eventually rather suffered the most.
The police under the pressure to solve the crime put the five teenage boys to trial and had them convicted. This moment of the movie made me sad and so angry and realized how helpless a man can be when the system is administered against him.
The charges pressed against these five boys all lacked any substantive pieces of evidence, the DNA samples of semen found at the scene did not match to any of the five boys nonetheless the plaintiff did not plan to lose the case, despite the lack of any physical evidence or eyewitness.
The lady who suffered the attack and was in a coma for 12 days, lost her memory, therefore, could not recall any information on the culprit. I asked myself one question, could no forensic examination be useful to clear these other charges.
When Michael, one of the lawyers for the boys outside the courtroom in a one on one meet up with Elizabeth, lawyer for the plaintiff, asked about a fair justice, Elizabeth said to him,” it is no longer about justice, it is about politics and politics is about survival and there is nothing fair about survival”, I actually felt heart drenched and filled with fury, I, however, patted myself that where discrimination abounds you don’t get served a fair justice.
The five teenage boys, also referred to as ‘the Central Park Five’, Antron, Yusef, Kevin, and Raymond, were sentenced to 10 years jail terms each, and were put in juvenile prison, Korey who was 16 at the time was put in adult prison and struggled in the changing of cells over repeated assaults. They all served their sentences in full only to be exonerated of all charges in 2002
So in 2002 the actual culprit who was in prison for rape and murder, crosses paths with Korey in prison, he boldly made it with the truth to the police and confesses, his DNA matches the evidence and eventually the five boys who have grown to become men after several years spent in jail, were exonerated.
They filed a suit against the city for which they received a settlement in 2014.
Four of these guys moved out of the city to start their new lives, one, however, stayed in the city to live his life.
I went numb and cold empathizing with these dudes who have been denied their youthful lives and had had to start a new life.
This movie by Netflix is a story to watch, when watched it takes you down memory lane of how the legal system of the US and other countries discriminated and were unfair to some section of people in their societies, how innocent ones were dehumanized and it also reflects the epic racial prejudices black and colored people suffered. It is a great story by Ava D4uVernay, and I would rate this movie a 9/10.
By: Peters Ottu