*Following the release of Ava DuVernay’s new Netflix miniseries “When They See Us,” ex-prosecutor Linda Fairstein has been called out on social media for her role in turning upside the lives of the Black and Latino males dubbed the Central Park Five back in the late 80’s.
Fairstein was in charge of the interrogation of the wrongfully convicted teens then went on to have a highly successful literary career, PEOPLE reports. The Central Park Five were imprisoned for years following the high-profile 1989 rape of female jogger Tricia Meili before their convictions were overturned.
Raymond Santana, who was one of the teenagers arrested, tells TMZ that he supports the online movement to #CancelLindaFairstein and boycott her books.
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Fans have taken to social media to call for retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble to remove Fairstein’s best-selling literary collection from shelves. Santana believes it is high time Fairstein “pay for her crime.”
Fairstein was one of the lead prosecutors on the case, and she reportedly sealed confessions from the boys at the time under what they described as duress and pressure from police. All five men were later fully exonerated, despite having spent years behind bars.
Raymond and his brothers, meanwhile, have even gotten behind a clothing campaign called “The Brotherhood Tee,” which supports The Innocence Project, which aims to “exonerates the wrongly convicted through DNA testing and reforms the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice,” according to the website.
Despite no physical evidence tying the five teens to the crime, Fairstein has maintained they were guilty.
New York City released thousands of pages of case documents in 2018, explaining the decision to vacate the convictions of the men. Fairstein then wrote an op-ed in the New York Law Journal defending the initial convictions and denying that the confessions were coerced.
In a 2002 interview with The New Yorker, she described the arrests of young men as “one of the most brilliant police investigations I’ve ever seen.”
Over a decade after the Central Park Five were convicted of the crime, serial rapist Matias Reyes admitted in 2002 to assaulting Meili in 1989.
As noted by PEOPLE, Fairstein claimed that Reyes, “ran with that pack of kids. He stayed longer when the others moved on. He completed the assault. I don’t think there is a question in the minds of anyone present during the interrogation process that these five men were participants, not only in the other attacks that night but in the attack on the jogger.”
When Reyers came forward with his confession, the Central Park Five were exonerated and given a $41 million settlement from the city of New York for their wrongful conviction.