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A 2019 docudrama by Ava DuVernay about the real life Central Park 5 case. After five young men in Harlem are accused of beating and raping a jogger in Central Park, the police coerce them into confessing. In spite of the many holes in the prosecution's case, they are convicted at trial. As four are released after serving time in prison, they are released and have to struggle in getting back their lives.

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Let’s add examples only from the series and no debating about the nonethical behavior of the police officers towards African Americans. This is an examples page, and we should leave it at that.

Examples:

  • Acquitted Too Late: Four of the five men had already served their entire sentences by the time they had gotten exonerated, and the fifth had spent more than a decade in prison. The actual rapist could not be charged, despite confessing, because the statute of limitations had run out (he was already doing a life sentence for other crimes though).
  • Amoral Attorney: Linda Fairstein shamelessly ignores the glaring holes in the case because she's absolutely certain of the boys' guilt and is unwilling to admit she made a mistake.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • The crimes of the "wilding" group are downplayed. In the series, we only see the homeless man get punched, but in reality he was beaten up and then a bottle was broken over his head. In the series, the group only jostles and intimidates the couple riding the tandem bicycle. In reality, the group tried to pull them off their bike, but the couple managed to escape.
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    • When the Central Park 5 are placed in a cell together in the show, they each admit to and apologize for falsely implicating each other. In reality, the boys were all too ashamed to admit anything, and each claimed to have not given any testimony to the police.
    • While waiting in their shared cell, the boys share grim predictions for their future. In reality, they still didn't have a very clear grasp of the ramifications of their statements. One later said that he thought the whole issue was over once he made bail.
    • In the show, Antron loses all hope and thanks his attorney for doing the best he could after watching his father blow it on the stand. In reality, Antron didn't thank his attorney until after being pronounced guilty.
  • The Atoner: Matias Reyes confesses to the rape of the jogger because he feels remorse after two chance encounters with Korey in prison.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: The boys' names are ultimately cleared, but only after they've served their sentences. The police officers who coerced their confessions and the prosecutors who railroaded them face no consequences for their actions.note 
  • Clear Their Name: The five's families and supporters try to clear their names, unsuccessfully until Matias Reyes confesses.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: A media circus surrounds the trial, and notably, future president Donald Trump publicly calls for the boys to be executed.
  • Dirty Cop: The detectives who investigated the case ignore glaring holes in the case and question the underage boys without attorneys or their parents present.
    • A prison guard in Rikers blackmails inmates, which he enforces by sending other prisoners to beat up those who don't follow through.
    • A prison guard in Wende sets up an attack on Korey by other inmates.
  • Failed a Spot Check: One of the cops interrogating Matias Reyes failed to notice the similarities between his attacks and the attack on Tricia Meili, despite one having taken place very near to where Meili was assaulted only two days before.
  • False Confession: The boys are coerced into falsely confessing by the police. In spite of their confessions both contradicting each other and physical evidence, the jury still convicts them.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Long periods in solitary caused Korey to have hallucinations, mostly of his sister.
  • Hellhole Prison: Korey is beaten up by prisoners, mistreated by guards and isolated while in prison. He's the only one of the five sent to an adult prison at the beginning of his sentence. He spends his time in solitary to protect himself from other inmates.
  • I Won't Say I'm Guilty: All five of the boys reject a plea deal from the DA because they won't plead guilty to something they didn't do. Yusef and Kevin refuse to say they raped anyone at the mandatory sex offenders meeting. Korey refuses to say he committed the crime at his parole hearings, despite it meaning he'll stay in prison.
  • It Will Never Catch On: When Donald Trump demands that the boys be executed, one of the mothers dismisses him as a publicity hound clinging to his last minute of fame.
  • Karma Houdini: None of the law enforcement officials get punished for their misconduct.
  • Knight Templar: The most charitable interpretation of Linda Fairstein; because she does want justice for the jogger, she's willing to ignore glaring holes in the evidence in order to get it and refuses to acknowledge the truth when it does come out.
  • Lack of Empathy: Linda Fairstein is unrepentant when Nancy Ryan calls her out on her incompetence.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Some of the most infamous American wrongful convictions in recent years. Five innocent young men were convicted of and served prison time for a crime they didn't commit, and, despite confessing, Matias Reyes could not be charged because the statute of limitations had run out.
  • Never My Fault: Officer Sheehan and Linda Fairstein both refuse to take responsibility when confronted with Reyes's confession.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Korey Wise was not initially a suspect and accompanied his friend Yusef Salaam to the police station for moral support. He was coerced into a confession, charged, convicted and served more than 13 years, the longest sentence of the five.
  • Not Used To Freedom: The five men all go through periods of adjustment after being released.
  • Pariah Prisoner: Korey's youth, and the infamy of the rape he was convicted of, make him a target for corrections officers and fellow prisoners.
  • Pet the Dog: Serial rapist Matias Reyes confesses his guilt in the rape after two chance encounters with Korey in prison leave him remorseful. His confession ultimately results in the boys being exonerated.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Nancy Ryan, particularly in contrast to Linda Fairstein. Initially, Elizabeth Lederer is also portrayed as more reasonable than Fairstein, expressing doubts over the strength of the evidence, but she ultimately goes forward with the trial anyway.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Matias Reyes, the true rapist, is 17 years old when he attacks Trisha Meili and leaves her for dead. The media also promotes this image about the 5 boys.
  • Transgender: Korey's older sister Marci, shown before and after her transition.
  • Trans Tribulations: Marci, Korey's older sister, is rejected and thrown out by their mother. She is later murdered while Korey's imprisoned. After her death, her mother finally refers to her as "Marci".
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Nancy Ryan and her assistant both call out Officer Sheehan for failing to connect Reyes to the jogger attack and for using blatantly unethical interrogation tactics.
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