The Central Park Five: ‘We Were Just Baby Boys’

Clockwise from top left, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, Marquis Rodriguez, Jharrel Jerome, Ethan Herisse, Asante Blackk and Caleel Harris.CreditCreditBrad Ogbonna for The New York Times

Clockwise from top left, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, Marquis Rodriguez, Jharrel Jerome, Ethan Herisse, Asante Blackk and Caleel Harris.CreditCreditBrad Ogbonna for The New York Times

One morning earlier this month, a group of 10 men and teenage boys gathered for a photo shoot in a small studio on the Lower East Side. The overall mood was chill; as the music of Nipsey Hussle, 50 Cent and Wale filled the room, they chatted amiably in between shots, laughing, joking and moving along to the beats.

The occasion for this gathering was bittersweet: Five of the subjects were Korey Wise, 46; Kevin Richardson, 44; Raymond Santana, 44; Antron McCray, 45; and Yusef Salaam, 45, known collectively as the Central Park Five. Their stories are being retold in “When They See Us,” a new Netflix mini-series created and directed by Ava DuVernay.

In 1989 the men — then teenagers — were arrested in connection with the rape and assault of a white female jogger, and eventually convicted in a case that came to symbolize the stark injustices black and brown people experience within the legal system and in media coverage. They were convicted based partly on police-coerced confessions, and each spent between six and 13-plus years in prison for charges including attempted murder, rape and assault. . .

Read more by Aisha Harris at The New York Times