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Netflix's 'When They See Us' Is Hard To Watch But You Must Hear Its Important Message

Netflix is continually pumping out true-crime series, but the streaming giant's latest release is proving hard to watch for some viewers but we must hear the important message it holds.

When They See Us is based on the harrowing true story of five black and Hispanic teenagers who were falsely convicted of a brutal rape attack in Central Park in NYC in 1989, as per Netflix's synopsis.


In real life, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise, dubbed the Central Park Five, were all convicted of a rape they didn't commit despite a total lack of evidence, highlighting racial injustice and corruption which is still present today.

After initially denying the crime, each boy began blaming one another after hours of police interrogation, despite their statements not matching up to the physical evidence left at the crime scene.

Four of the boys, who were all aged between 14 and 15, received five to 10 year prison sentences, whereas Korey was tried in an adult court as he was 16, being handed a sentence of between five and 15 years in a brutal adult prison.

Credit: Netflix
Credit: Netflix

Antron, Kevin, Yusef and Raymond spent seven years in prison, meanwhile Korey spent 13.

The five all had their convictions overturned years later and they all sued the state for a collective $41 million settlement in September 2014 after serial rapist Matias Reyes confessed to raping Trisha Meili.


Not only did DNA evidence proved that Reyes committed the crime, but his confession disproved all the evidence used against the Central Park Five during their court trials.

Credit: Netflix
Credit: Netflix

As Korey previously said in an interview for Sarah and Ken Burns' 2012 Central Park Five documentary: "You won't forget what your lost.

"No money could bring that time back. No money could bring the life that was missing or the time that was taken away."

Rikers Island jail, where Wise spent part of his sentence will close in 2026.

Credit: Netflix
Credit: Netflix

And in 2017, the state passed the Raise the Age law, which means 16 and 17-year-old teenagers are no longer treated as adults in the legal system.

But the harrowing story of the Central Park five, which retold what they had to endure, has been hard to handle for so many viewers, but many have encouraged others to watch to hear its important message.

"When They See Us please go watch it, it's so powerful and important. Thank you for sharing this story that needs to be told," offered one fan.

While somebody else echoed: "I usually don't watch the trending Netflix series butttt When They See Us is a 10/10. I cried all 4 parts."

"This When They See Us show on Netflix getting me mad because those cops really treated those kids like that," tweeted a third.

Directed by Ava DuVernay, When They See Us spans over 25 years, from the night of the attack in 1989 right up to the settlement in 2014.

Credit: Netflix
Credit: Netflix

Antron is portrayed by both Caleel Harris and Jovan Adepo, while Kevin is played by Asante Blackk and Justin Cunningham. Ethan Herisse and Chris Chalk star as Yusef, Marquis Rodriguez and Freddy Miyares are Raymond and Jharrel Jerome is Korey.

When They See Us is available to stream on Netflix now.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: News, Life News, Real, TV Entertainment

Rachel Andrews

Rachel Andrews is an NCTJ trained Journalist at PRETTY52. She specialises in Fashion and Beauty Journalism, and has experience at a range of online and print publications and joined the team in 2017. Contact her -

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