Short Takes: The Central Park Five

The Central Park Five

Sundance Selects

119 minutes

Out of the 3,254 rapes reported in New York City in 1989, it was a brutal attack on a Central Park jogger that gripped the populace and helped create the notion of the “superpredator.” Here, a team including Ken Burns and his daughter Sarah tells the story of five Harlem teens wrongfully convicted of raping and beating a white woman to near death—then exonerated after years in prison by DNA evidence and the confession of a serial culprit. The men, all under 16 at the time of the rape, recount their helplessness in the face of police intimidation and a vengeful public. Perhaps the film’s most haunting aspect is the refusal, by police and prosecutors who ignored exonerating evidence and sent five boys upriver, to offer the filmmakers a word of remorse.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate