After their arrests in 1989, five young men in New York City were convicted of the rape of a jogger in Central Park in 1990. The convictions came after a media firestorm demanding an example be made of the so-called “Central Park Five”, one sustained by everyone from local reporters to cable TV news to well-known resident Donald J. Trump, who took out a full-page ad in The New York Times calling for the death penalty to be exercised against them.

In 2001, they were acquitted and freed, after the actual culprit was identified through DNA testing. Even so, the trials remain one of the foremost disgraces of the modern U.S. justice system. Now, director Ava DuVernay will tell the actual story of the arrests and trials, the one mass media underrepresented at the time and in the years following. The one about five young men dragged into a legal, and then prison, system they didn’t understand, for no valid reason at all.

On May 31st, Netflix will release When They See Us, DuVernay’s four-part series about the wrongful incarceration of Antron McCray (Jovan Adepo), Yusef Salaam (Chris Chalk), Kevin Richardson (Justin Cunningham), Korey Wise (Jharrel Jerome), and Raymond Santana (Freddy Miyares). DuVernay wrote and directed all four episodes of the series, which will also star Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Niecy Nash, Aunjanue Ellis, Michael Kenneth Williams, Dascha Polanco, Blair Underwood, Felicity Huffman, Joshua Jackson, and Famke Janssen.


Until then, have a look at the harrowing full trailer, which follows the boys’ rapid descent into the worst of the American legal system.