WYMS Covers “The Central Park 5”


As of December 2015, The Central Park Five will finally receive a $41 million settlement.  Now they begin their fight for a $52 million payout from the state for wrongful imprisonment. I hope they get every penny.

Then I hope they put CIVIL cases on all the lawyers and individual officers who went along with the farce to strip them of their freedom and dignity for all those years….


If you grew up in NYC in the late 80’s and early 90’s, you knew about the Central Park Jogger – especially if you were Black or Brown. So I took special notice when I heard tell of a documentary based on the case.

A white woman beaten battered and raped, 5 Black men wrongfully accused, a corrupt justice system… it was a modern day Emitt Till.

Without giving away too much of the movie, I wanted to share what made this MadMan mad about the entire situation.

I have always said “nigga actions result in nigga consequences” and the one thing no one has said is “had they not had their asses in the park messing with people, this never would have happened.” True or no?

Where is the personal responsibility? Not from the kids, but from their parents who should have known that the FIRST lesson you teach a Black boy (even before the ABC’s) is to NEVER speak to the police under ANY circumstances (this includes the “no-snitching” movement).

We can cry about the justice system all we want, but as Black people, we KNOW what the justice system holds for Black and brown people. Educating our young men about REALITY and not what SHOULD be is the best defense we can give them.

Richardson and Santana two of the Central Park 5.

How are we not training and teaching our people in psychological warfare? How are we not teaching about “institutionalized protectionism” as it related to the Police state? Did we not already learn that lesson during the civil rights era?

The way those boys were railroaded was SO transparent that anyone with even a small knowledge of the law could see this was a scapegoating of epic proportions that could have been avoided by following 2 basic rules:

1. do NOT participate in nigga shenanigans
2. use your right to remain silent – especially if you are a juvenile because confessions trump DNA – every time!

If anything, this documentary proves that the judicial system was designed to lock us up, not prove innocence, or set anyone free. The fact that prison stock is traded as a commodity on the market should be clue number one to that harsh reality.

It also proves that PARENTS must educate their children in REALITY. How is is that your child knows the latest pop song, but not what the Miranda rights really mean? How is it that the people in your neighborhood are killed by police daily and yet you go to work like nothing is happening? How is it that you watched the cases of Yusef Hawkins, Sean Bell, The Jenna 6, Tawana Brawlely, Eleanor Bumpers and you cry and moan but DON’T protect your child with the simple knowledge of how to deal with a confrontation with police?

These lessons should be taught right next to “How to handle a bee sting” in Black homes. You want a grimm fairy tale to tell the kids, how about the story of the Central Park 5? What is more terrifying than a Black man being judged by a jury of his “peers” in America? What is more horrifying than knowing we are a society on the brink of insanity?

I encourage every MadMan to go see “The Central Park 5”. Whether you agree or disagree with my take on it, let’s begin to have the discussion.

We have the power of our voices to help “The 5” receive the justice they deserve by supporting them in their civil lawsuit against the city of New York, and by supporting their efforts to educate parents and youth on how to deal with the police should a situation arise.

We will update this post as more information about their efforts become available.

Published by

Harlem Film House

Harlem Film House, a 501(c) 3) corporation, produces film & music festivals, workshops, media, theatre productions and live events, while also offering business consulting to filmmakers and content creators in underserved communities around the world. The Harlem Film House creates a economic ecosystem by providing filmmakers services and resources to ensure longevity in careers in film, theatre and related entreprenurial pursuits.

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