Where the Central Park Five — Yusef, Kevin, Antron, Korey, and Raymond — Are Today
Brought to the small screen with a talented cast, Ava DuVernay's limited Netflix series When They See Us is a haunting yet sharp and stirring project about the wrongful convictions of the adolescent boys who were known as the "Central Park Five." DuVernay, known for directing Selma and A Wrinkle in Time, shows the complicity of officials and journalists while illuminating the painful stories of the defendants and their families.
The real case was unjust on all sides. In 1989, Trisha Meili had been in Central Park when she was assaulted so badly that she entered a 12-day coma and recalled no memories of her attack. Immediately after, five black and Latino teenage boys — Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Korey Wise, and Raymond Santana — were interrogated and coerced into fabricating stories that implicated them despite no DNA evidence tying them to the crime. When Matias Reyes, the real perpetrator, came forward over a decade later, the boys, now men, had each served between six to 13 years for crimes such as attempted murder, rape, and assault.
After pursuing a civil rights lawsuit, the men later received a $41 million settlement from the city of New York. But what are they up to today? Here's what each of the men is doing in 2019.
Now a father, Salaam resides in Atlanta, where he is a workshop leader and keynote speaker. He focuses on subjects such as education and the effects of incarceration. In 2016, he wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post detailing his experience with law enforcement when being interrogated — the defendants were deprived of food, drink, or sleep for over 24 hours — as well as then-nominee Donald Trump's comments about the case to the media. The same year, President Barack Obama awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Living in New Jersey with his family, Richardson works with the Innocence Project, a nonprofit committed to exonerating the wrongly convicted with DNA evidence. He advocates the recording of interrogations and eyewitness identification reforms.
Now a father of six, McCray lives in Georgia with his family. He was the first of the accused men to leave New York City. As of a 2012 report from The New York Times, he works as a forklift operator.
While in prison, Wise, the oldest of the four then-teenagers, met Matias Reyes, the real criminal behind Trisha Meili's assault, at Rikers Island. Thirteen years later, they met again in another facility, and Reyes, already serving a sentence for murder and multiple rapes, would confess to his crime.
Now residing in New York City, Wise works with the Innocence Project towards criminal justice reform. In 2015, Wise gifted $190,000 to support the Innocence Project at the University of Colorado Law School. In March 2019, the NYC branch of the Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network presented him with the Man of Vision Award.
Santana resides in Atlanta with his teenage daughter. After working with Reverend Run's business associate, he now has a street style fashion line called Park Madison NYC, named after an area in Harlem. One of his shirt designs features the names of the Central Park Five, and a portion of the proceeds is put toward the Innocence Project. Santana also acted as the executive producer of the 2015 documentary Bloodsworth: An Innocent Man, which follows the first US death row case to be exonerated by DNA evidence.