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Calls for reopening of cases belonging to Central Park Five prosecutor, Linda Fairstein, after movie unveils unethical law practices during high profile trial

in Crime/Politics & Social Justice by

Linda Fairstein and a number of police officers made their careers from the Central Park Five case. Now, Fairstein has become the defendant amid questions of her practices in the high profile trial that sent innocent youth to jail.

Director, Ava Duvernay’s recent work, “When They See Us,” a made-for-streaming production retelling the high profile case of the Central Park Five, has left former Manhattan District Attorney turned bestselling-crime-fiction-author, Linda Fairstein, fighting for her own career.

This week, activists went to the offices of current New York County District Attorney, Cy Vance to demand that he reopens Fairstein’s cases. “We must make sure the predatory prosecutor has no other victims!!” Said Justice League NYC in a Twitter post that also announced that they would be joining activist Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and NYC public advocate Jumaane Williams.

The newly elected Williams Tweeted out:

Took me 3days many pauses & tears to get through this. Like other recent movies this can’t go unanswered.

Cases need to be reopened, careers reexamined.

The Duvernay masterpiece details how five Black and Latino male youth, ages 14 to 16, served six to 13 years after being wrongfully convicted in 1990 for beating and rapping a New York City white female jogger. They were exonerated in 2003 when Matias Reyes confessed that he was the attacker. However, Fairstein maintains that the five were involved.

At the time of the case, Fairstein was the prosecutor. Details from the movie, reveal that Fairstein, in collusion with New York police officers, practiced unethical and illegal tactics. From coercion of the boys, doctoring confession tapes and holding information on critical DNA evidence, a team of adult authority built their careers on the conviction of innocent teens.

In 2018, New York City awarded the five men (Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, Raymond Santana, Jr. and Kevin Richardson) $41 million. Additionally, as per the agreement of the lawsuit the City made public 200,000 pages of documents. The release also included 95 depositions, as well as, a large cache of video and audio recordings.

Fairstein has already resigned from several boards of nonprofits including Vassar College, where she graduated in 1969. As well, calls have been made to booksellers to stop carrying her novels. The hashtag #CancelLindaFairstein still circulates.

*Update: On Friday, Dutton Publishing announced through its spokesperson, Amanda Walker, that they have severed ties with Fairstein. Dutton is a subsidiary of Penguin Books.

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