Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
mario calvo S mEIfXRzIk unsplash?width=719&height=464&fit=crop&auto=webp
mario calvo S mEIfXRzIk unsplash?width=398&height=256&fit=crop&auto=webp
/ Unsplash
Culture > News

Members of the Central Park Five spoke to Temple students about their experience with the criminal justice system

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

On Wednesday, October 9, Dr. Yusef Salaam and Raymond Santana of the Central Park Five, now known as The Exonerated Five, visited Temple University to discuss how their lives were so greatly impacted by the criminal justice system. The two men were also joined by Emmy award-winning actor Jharrel Jermone, who portrayed Korey Wise (another member of the five) in the Netflix limited series “When They See Us.”

For those of you who are not familiar with the Central Park Five case, here is a brief overview:

Five teenage boys of color from New York named Antron McCray, Korey Wise, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Kevin Richardson were wrongfully convicted of the rape and assault of a white female jogger by the name of Trisha Meili in April 1989. They were coerced by police into providing false confessions to the crimes, which ultimately resulted in each of their convictions. 

However, despite their being no DNA evidence or anything connecting these boys to the crimes, the jury found them guilty, which is a clear indication of racial profiling and a miscarriage of justice at the hands of law enforcement and society. 

After being incarcerated for a number of years and suffering through the hardships of the prison system, each of the boys were exonerated of all charges after the actual perpetrator was caught. The Exonerated Five subsequently received a settlement of $41 million from a civil lawsuit against the city of New York. 

During their visit to Temple, Yusef and Raymond discussed “When They See Us” in comparison to what happened in reality, revealing how the series accurately portrayed their experiences. 

They also praised Jharrel Jerome’s excellent performance as Korey Wise in the show. Jerome even said that the real Korey Wise was amazed with how well he played the part. Jerome said Korey looked at him after the table read and said “you’re Korey Wise,” putting his chain around his neck. 

Aside from discussing the Netflix show, Yusef and Raymond talked about the racial disparities in the criminal justice system, to which Yusef referred to it as “the criminal system of justice.” 

People of color are disproportionately affected by the system compared to white people, as we have seen time and time again through police brutality, harsh sentences and what happened to The Central Park Five. 


Sam Margolis

Temple '21

Sophomore criminal justice major at Temple University
When Rachel isn't obsessively drinking iced coffee by the gallon or binge watching true crime videos on YouTube, you can probably find her writing about her failed love life. She is currently a  junior (*she's ancient*) journalism major at Temple University, and is a Her Campus Temple Campus Correspondent, a Temple Student Government Social Media Manager and a 2020 Owl Team Student Coordinator.