Today marks the 30th anniversary of the rape of Trisha Meili, the white female jogger who was at the center of the infamous Central Park Five case, in which five teenagers of color were convicted of a rape they did not commit. And Netflix decided to release the first trailer for Ava DuVernay's upcoming four-part miniseries about the case, which she co-wrote and directed, today. You can watch the official trailer for When They See Us, which will be released on May 31st, below.
"In 1989, five black and brown teen boys were wrongly accused of a crime they did not commit and branded The Central Park Five, a moniker that has followed them since that time. In 2019, our series gives the five men a platform to finally raise their voices and tell their full stories," DuVernay said in a press release. "In doing so, Korey, Antron, Raymond, Kevin and Yusef also tell the story of many young people of color unjustly ensnared in the criminal justice system. We wanted to reflect this perspective in our title, embracing the humanity of the men and not their politicized moniker."
The series will follow the story of the five men—Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise—from 1989, the year they were falsely convicted by the media and the courts for the rape of Meili in Central Park, through their exoneration in 2002, and up until 2014, the year their convictions were officially overturned and their names cleared.
In a previous statement, DuVernay noted, "In their journey, we witness five innocent young men of color who were met with injustice at every turn—from coerced confessions to unjust incarceration to public calls for their execution by the man who would go on to be the President of the United States." In 1989, Trump repeatedly condemned the innocent teenagers and even took out full page newspaper ads calling for the death penalty to be reinstated in New York, something that can be spotted during the trailer.
Jovan Adepo, Jharrel Jerome, Chris Chalk, Justin Cunningham, and Freddy Miyares will portray the Central Park Five. The rest of the cast includes Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Niecy Nash, Joshua Jackson, Kylie Bunbury, Felicity Huffman, Adepero Oduye, Storm Reid, Blair Underwood, and Famke Janssen.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Melli was murdered.