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Customer Review

62 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars... why did the innocent confess? Watch!, January 21, 2013
This review is from: The Central Park Five (DVD)
In late 2011, Sarah Burns published the "Central Park Five" book, and in late, 2012, the documentary based on this book, or perhaps more accurately stated, made in conjunction with this book, was released in the theatre (I saw it at the Landmark E Street Cinema in Washington DC about a month ago). This co-documentary is directed by the book's author as well as David McMahon and Ken Burns (yes, that Ken Burns).

"The Central Park Five" (120 min.) brings in excruciating (but riveting and enraging) details the background of the infamous "Central Park jogger" case of a woman who was savagely attacked, raped and left for dead while jogging in New York's Central Park in 1989. By coincidence that very same evening a bunch of black and latino 14 and 15 yr. old teenagers were hanging out in Central Park and pretty quickly the New York police rounded up a number of them, eventually causing 5 of them to admit to a crime they did not commit. This of course then goes to the very heart of this documentary: why did the 5 innocent teenagers confess to a crime they did not commit? Just watch!

Several comments: first and foremost, this documentary is clearly the result of painstaking background work into the details of the case. The initial part of the documentary does a great job setting the table of what New York was like in the late 80s (pre-law and order days of Rudolph Giuliani's administration in the 90s). The documentary also gives some amazing insights on why the media were not more thorough and critical while covering the case and the trial (one of the interviewees is a New York Times reporter who basically admits that 'we failed to do our job'). Also appalling is the dumbfounding absence of a strong legal defense during the trial, when not a single lawyer for the defendants points out that it was physically impossible for the teenagers to be at the spot of the crime when the crime happened. And on and on. This movie is gathering strong buzz, and hence I was surprised that it did not get an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary. Nevertheless, "The Central Park Five" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 13, 2013 10:13:53 AM PST
Agreed

Posted on Apr 17, 2013 6:18:55 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 17, 2013 6:20:18 AM PDT
Bobby says:
The movie is somewhat biased. I remember the events.

New York was then a dangerous place. Police were passive and ineffectual in many cases before Mayor Guiliani, with it's not my issue, not my problem, the typical answer. Penalties were minor. These were the days of Turn Em Loose Bruce and criminals with long records getting low bail and committing more crimes. One would could walk in Times Square and buy drugs, and on 11th Avenue, underage prostitutes, male and female plied their trade, with pimps nearby ready to beat them up if their quota was not made. Al Sharpton and similar leaders had enormous power and in one case, had a special prosecutor appointed when a girl made questionable allegations (Tawana Brawley case). When Afro-Americans were arrested, even if they were guilty, there were protests of police brutality and improper conduct.

Solutions to Afro-American problems were seen in letting those who committed serious crimes go free. (a few years later, Afro-Americans would tremendously benefit by the Guiliani administration with subways cleaner and safer, Harlem having a resurgence, and dangerous vacant houses in Queens and the Bronx cleared for development, and houses in Brooklyn rising in value to the millions).

After a concert, groups of teenagers went wild, (hence the term wilding) robbing and assaulting people. The suggestion they were simply hanging out obviously inaccurate and instead there was considerable evidence the teenagers played a role in mugging and today we recognize that as a serious crime. Some of them had serious prior criminal records and there was some evidence of sexual assault such as improper touching. With confessions, they were arrested and convicted. As we now know, a serial rapist had committed the most horrible crime, a violent rape on the woman leaving her battered and unconscious. I do remember thinking then that the teenagers had been guilty of assault and robbery but wondering how the woman was so battered and raped and who did it. In terms of blame, we can allocate it as follows,

1. Culture of denial by prominent black leaders. Since there were prior and subsequent arrests by those who were guilty, (Simpson, etc), that people were complaining showed little. Had there been a balanced voice in the Afro-American community where those who were guilty were condemned and those potentially innocent supported, the result could have been different. it was a typical cry-wolf scenario.

2. Need for justice. There was a sense we had enough subsequently vindicated by a strong anti-crime campaign by Mayor Guiliani which made the city into an immensely better one for both blacks and whites. Today one can travel the city at night, ride the subway and visit Times Square with your children.

3. Problems with the criminal justice system. We should intensely search to make sure the guilty do not get away and the innocent are not wrongfully convicted. That should occur on appeal as well as trial. Sadly much of the court-time is spent on arcane technicalities involving the mechanics of the search. That guilty people should be convicted and innocent exonerated sounds simple but its not our criminal justice system.

Posted on Apr 17, 2013 10:15:26 AM PDT
Paul Allaer,

Apparently, you know nothing about this case. The film you saw, and which I saw last night, is pure propaganda, full of distortions and lies.

The most succinct report on the case follows:

vdare.com/articles/sotomayor-supporter-robert-morgenthau-and-his-regime-of-racialized-justice-in-manhattan

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2013 1:17:39 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 26, 2013 1:40:15 PM PDT
Bobby, unfortunately, prefers ideological driven hallucination to fact.
1. The documentary put the case in the context of New York City's crime rate and decline since the 1960s. There were, of course, a number of reasons for New York's post 1960s, 70s, and 80's problems. The documentary could perhaps have done a better job with the intersection between mayoral politics and race in the City.

2. The DNA evidence combined with Reyes confession (the dude went all Christian apparently) is quite conclusive to anyone with the cognitive ability to recognise the truth. Speaking of the evidence, note how Nicholas Stix doesn't really address this very conclusive evidence whatsover, doesn't really address the inconsistencies in the "confessions" he supposedly finds sacrosanct, and sends us to an article he wrote which is full of the irrational invented paranoias that sadly are very much a part of our wacked out era when the idiocies of the John Birch Society have become "truth" for far too many.

3. The fact that grandstanding DA's and the cops, DA's and cops doing what they always do best, the Bart Simpson I didn't do it, says so much about bureaucracies and a lack of personal responsibility among America's political, and I might add, economic elites. These very typical law enforcement attempts to put the blame on the victims, never themselves, even after they have been found to have railroaded five young men is yet another issue Mr. Stix fails to address. One would think that law enforcement in the City has a better track record than god (and perhaps they do given god's track record, his/her/its failure to do something about the Holocaust, for instance). Additionally, the fact that the cops missed the opportunity to stop the real rapist (they had the DNA) and save other women from a similar fate, says much about fear, paranoia, the manipulation of demagogically drugged up masses, racism in America, and police and prosecutorial culture then and I suspect now. Bobby's response makes us ask about the role race plays in American society today.

3. As to the Brawley case, that is, to a large extent, a different issue though one worth exploring and certainly one that brings together some similar threads.

4. Never a shortage of conspiracy theories. Always "good" to see that someway, somehow, so many of the conspiracy "theorists" always manage to pin the conspiracy tail/tale on the Jews and on liberals, better yet, on liberal Jews.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 12, 2013 3:14:36 PM PDT
Ronald G. Helfrich Jnr,

I have neither the time nor the interest to deal with all of your lies, but I will deal with the ones about me.

"Speaking of the evidence, note how Nicholas Stix doesn't really address this very conclusive evidence whatsover,"

Lie. I dealt with it in my article. There was no new evidence. The police had reported the semen evidence in 1989, acknowledged that it did not match any of the suspects in custody, and that multiple attackers from the mob that raped and beat Trisha Meili had not been caught. (You don't have to penetrate a victim to be guilty of rape. If you hold her down, while another attacker penetrates her, you're just as guilty as he is of the crime of forcible rape.)

"doesn't really address the inconsistencies in the `confessions' he supposedly finds sacrosanct,"

I have no idea what he's talking about, and he is expediently vague, because he has no case, but look at it this way: If the attackers, excuse me, "victims," were really spoon-fed their confessions by NYPD detectives, they would all be consistent.

"and sends us to an article he wrote which is full of the irrational invented paranoias that sadly are very much a part of our wacked out era when the idiocies of the John Birch Society have become `truth' for far too many."

"irrational invented paranoias." My article is very specific. You don't even bother citing any "irrational invented paranoias." And most readers here are too young to catch your reference to the John Birch Society. It sounds like you never read my article. You lied about it, in any event.

"These very typical law enforcement attempts to put the blame on the victims, never themselves, even after they have been found to have railroaded five young men is yet another issue Mr. Stix fails to address."

I can't address a non-existent issue. However, I did address and debunk the Central Park 5 Hoax. But I ain't done with that one, by a longshot!

Your strategy of playing the anti-Semite card against all critics, including Jews, of this race hoax is of a piece with your other shameless lies.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 12, 2013 3:15:19 PM PDT
Oops, I forgot:

vdare.com/articles/sotomayor-supporter-robert-morgenthau-and-his-regime-of-racialized-justice-in-manhattan
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Paul Allaer
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: Cincinnati

Top Reviewer Ranking: 105