The Central Park Five, the subjects of Ava DuVernay’s Netflix film “When They See Us,” received a newly discovered $3.9 million settlement from the New York State Court of Claims in 2016 in addition to the $41 million received in 2014, according to the New York Daily News.
The new DuVernay film, which was released on May 31, covers the arrest and conviction of five teenagers accused of sexually assaulting a jogger in Central Park 30 years ago, leading to them serving between six and 13 years in prison. The men were exonerated in 2002 when DNA evidence and a confession from convicted rapist Matias Reyes revealed the true perpetrator.
The film and the incident has received additional interest because of its connection to President Trump. In the days after the 1989 crime, Trump took out a full-page ad in the New York Daily News with the headline, “Bring Back the Death Penalty. Bring Back the Police.” In the ad, Trump wrote “muggers and murders” “should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes.”
When the five men were exonerated and received a $41 million settlement from New York City in 2014, Trump wrote an op-ed in the Daily News, calling the settlement a “disgrace” and blaming the city for the “mishandled disaster.” He added, “These young men do not exactly have the pasts of angels.”
According to the NY Daily News’ Sunday article, in addition to that 2014 settlement, Korey Wise, the individual who served the longest prison time, also received $1.5 million from the state in 2016. Former co-defendants Yusef Salaam and Kevin Richardson received $650,000, while Raymond Santana received $500,000 and Antron McCray received $600,000.
A representative for the New York state courts did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for further comment.
DuVernay’s film also led to renewed scrutiny of former Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor Linda Fairstein, who was charged with handling the Central Park rape case. In response to the new film, Fairstein stepped down from her board of directors position on multiple charity organizations and at Vassar College. The former prosecutor also lost her book deal with Dutton Publishing, having written 16 New York Times Bestselling crime novels.