“The Central Park Five,” the critically acclaimed documentary that tells the story of a horrific crime and a shocking truth will be shown in Hendrix Theatre Monday March 24 at 5 p.m. East Carolina University’s School of Communication, in association with the Cinematic Arts and Media Production program in the School of Art & Design, is sponsoring the screening and a panel discussion immediately following.
The brutal attack of a white female jogger in New York City’s Central Park in 1989 was labeled “the crime of the century” by some in the media; and, it was in this climate of opinion that five black and Latino teenagers were arrested, charged and convicted of this sensational crime — which they did not commit.
A quarter of a century later the crime, the case and its aftermath are the subjects of the latest documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns, with David McMahon and Sarah Burns. The film raises important questions regarding race, the failings of our criminal justice system, vulnerable juveniles, journalistic ethics, and basic human rights. “This documentary is a must-see. It is riveting from beginning to end and creates awareness of how the legal system gravely failed five young people,” says Barbara Bullington, an instructor in the School of Communication who arranged to bring the film to campus.
School of Communication student Andrew Gordy will moderate the panel, which will include: award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Wyatt, associate professor of cinematic arts and media production, ECU School of Art and Design; Chuck Twardy, journalism instructor, ECU School of Communication; Kristen Hunter, public information officer, Greenville Police Department; Suzanne Molhan, victim advocate for ECU’s Counseling Center and author of the book, “A Mother’s Mission: The Sue Molhan Story”; and, Chase Kroll, editor-in-chief of The East Carolinian.
This event will highlight the importance of due diligence in investigating and reporting and also explore the mistakes of those originally involved in the case in 1989. News of the rape resulted in public outcry and sensational headlines; however, the exoneration of the wrongly convicted teens received much less news coverage. With “The Central Park Five,” this story of injustice comes to light.The event is made possible in part by funding from ECU’s Co-Curricular Collaborations. It is also a Wellness Passport premier event.